Personalized Learning: The New Frontier of Higher Education

Is personalization the wave of the future in education? Everyone, from government officials to tech giants, is betting on it.

But what exactly is personalized learning? Many people have an idea, but few know how much difference it can make. 

Personalized learning is when course content, materials, methods, and interactions are viewed through the lens of the learner.

In other words, it’s all about ensuring people get the support they need to reach their potential in a way tailored to their needs.

This article provides useful information and insights to help you understand personalized learning, recognize its potential, and decide whether it is right for you.

What is Personalized Learning?

Personalized learning (sometimes called individualized instruction) is the process of students getting the help they need based on how they learn.

Every student has different strengths and weaknesses, and personalized learning lets educators consider these when designing lessons for their students.

Personalized learning is a system that adapts the learning process to each student’s needs, abilities, and interests.

It might seem daunting at first, but personalized learning is very simple. Personalized lessons teach students what they need to know, when they need to know it, and how to apply it.

SEE: Learn more about authentic learning

How Does Personalized Learning Work?

Personalized learning is based on the fact that different students are unique and have different needs and abilities.

Personalized learning matches students to the best learning method for them. This differs from traditional teaching methods where teachers teach an entire class the same thing. 

Personalized learning is about helping students learn in the way that works best for them. It tends to include: 

  • Teachers working with small groups of students
  • Teachers using technology to tailor learning material 
  • using various learning methods, including assessment, classroom observation, cooperative learning, personalized curriculum, project-based learning, and quizzing.

Personalized learning is not a new concept. It’s been around for a while, but it’s getting much attention now. It truly helps students understand the material better and learn faster.

Students can take coursework that is interesting to them, as well as different assessments that measure their abilities.

Reasons Why Students Need Personalized Learning

1. Gives students a sense of accomplishment

Personalized learning is a new way to educate students. It allows students to participate in their learning and tailor it to their interests and capabilities. 

Personalized learning gives students a sense of achievement and allows them to develop knowledge at their own pace. 

It is about supporting students to experience success and ultimately reach their potential.

2. Students learn at the appropriate pace

The biggest problem in education is that students learn at different paces. Each student has unique learning needs and preferences.

Researchers and experts agree that personalized learning helps students improve faster. By tailoring lessons to fit specific skill levels, students can advance at the right pace.

If you have a class of 30, each child will learn at a different pace. Some will be ahead, some will catch up, and some will be behind. With personalized learning, each student can progress at their own pace.  

SEE: Understand self-learning

3. Students can succeed with flexible options

Personalized learning gives students personalized options that fit their diverse needs, interests, and goals.

Students can find the best way to learn through personalized learning and make the most of their potential.

Students can test out of a subject, repeat a class they struggled with, or get additional help from a teacher before an important test.

4. Students can select the program that matches their strengths and interests

More and more schools are moving towards personalizing the learning experience for students, meaning that each student gets to learn in a way that works best for them.

It allows students to learn in a way that comes most naturally to them. The more personalized their program, the better they can perform, and the more likely they will fall in love with learning.

Students can choose from our wide range of programs to find the one that matches their strengths and interests.

SEE: Explore mastery learning

5. Teachers’ time is better spent doing research or improving outcomes for children in need

 In the 21st century, students come to school with a wider variety of backgrounds and needs than ever before.

There is a wide range of academic needs in classrooms today from gifted to struggling learners. 

Some students are ready for the school year, while others may require extra help learning new concepts or completing homework.

Personalized learning can help teachers guide students based on their challenges and goals while still meeting state standards.

Teachers spend a lot of time trying to ensure every student is learning. Personalized learning makes this possible.

This kind of learning gives teachers more time to research topics affecting their students or work closely with those that need extra help.

6. Stimulate imagination and creativity

It has a big impact on one’s life. Personalized learning allows students to choose the subjects and activities most relevant to their interests, goals, and aspirations.

With personalized learning, students become more active learners because they decide what they need to learn.

One of the greatest aspects of personalized learning is that it helps students develop independence and creativity.

Children who are allowed to have a greater degree of control over their learning environment can become more active, motivated learners. 

7. Students develop a growth mindset

 No matter the subject or grade level, personalized learning can increase student engagement and help develop a growth mindset.

A growth mindset occurs when people believe their capabilities can be changed through dedication and hard work.

This mindset can help students gain confidence in their ability to learn new material, which makes them more successful in the classroom.

SEE: Explore lifelong learning

How Can You Implement Personalized Learning in Your Teaching Practice?

1. Make plans and set goals

Making plans is the first step to implementing personalized learning in your classroom. The road to earning credentials and gaining experience as a teacher is long, with many stops along the way. 

First, you must decide what success looks like for your students, then design a plan to help them get there. And remember that one plan does not fit all.

Each student has different interests and needs, so you must adapt the lesson plans accordingly.

Teachers use plans to focus on their students and identify how they need support from staff members, administrators, and other teachers.

2. Teachers should adjust their teaching methods according to students’ abilities and needs

If you’re a teacher who wants to offer your students personalized learning, it can greatly benefit them. The key is to understand each student’s needs and put the resources in place to help them succeed.

You should adjust your teaching methods according to students’ abilities and needs. 

For example, teachers in the lower grades could provide more detailed feedback to their students than those in the upper elementary levels.

In addition, teachers should tailor instruction content to specific groups of students who may require additional motivation or learning opportunities.

Furthermore, teachers can adopt an inquiry-based learning strategy in their classrooms.

This method helps students grasp concepts and apply them in a real-life context, encouraging them to participate in discussions, develop critical thinking skills, and maintain an open mind.

3. Allowing students more choice of what to do in class and what material to study 

Teachers can allow students more choice and responsibility in the classroom by implementing personalized learning.

The first step is to determine the learning targets for all students, which may be different from what has been taught in your school. 

You can use Bloom’s taxonomy to determine appropriate levels of difficulty and grouping strategies.

Next, teachers should create units of study aligned with these learning targets and allow students to choose between activities that apply to each unit. 

Finally, assess your students individually as they complete their work. This will ensure they meet not just minimum standards but also demonstrate mastery of content.

4. Encourage a student growth mindset

Personalized learning is a way of thinking about education that has gained popularity over the years.

It means tailoring your teaching to fit the needs of each student, rather than teaching with a one-size-fits-all mentality.

Based on how students learn best—listening and reading, watching others do an activity, or interacting with peers—personalized learning adapts to each student’s learning style.

By providing engaging opportunities that cater to each student’s learning style, you can give them all the tools they need to succeed in your classroom.

Encourage a growth mindset by helping your students see that intelligence is not rigid and that effort and hard work will improve their academic performance.

5. Develop personalized tests and assignments

Personalized learning means delivering instruction in a way that is tailored to the unique needs and interests of each student.

Teachers use various personalization techniques, including formative assessments, differentiated instruction, and adaptive technology tools.

Assignments and tests should be personalized to ensure each student receives the right practice.

Learning is often more effective when a student practices repeatedly to master skills or knowledge.

Personalized test questions are tailored to a particular student’s skill level and developed from their work in class.

6. Select the right tools and resources

Personalized learning is a new way of teaching that uses data to make more effective learning decisions instead of just guesses.

It can take many forms, from a teacher helping a struggling student after school to a classroom of students taking tests online in their pajamas. 

When developing a personalized learning environment, you can use a wide variety of tools. However, it’s not just about the tools, it’s also about how they are being used (and not).

SEE: Compare digital education tools for students and teachers 

7. Use technology to enhance a personalized learning environment

Technology has changed the way we learn, personalize, and interact with each other. Teachers need to use technology in ways that help them reach each child at his or her level of learning. 

Evaluate students’ needs so you may differentiate lessons to meet their unique demands using educational technologies.

Learn how to select and use this technology in your classroom to help students learn independently and create a more effective and efficient classroom environment.

SEE: Understand edTech and how it is shaping the future of learning

FAQs

Why is personalization a key element in education?

Education is now more personal by enabling students to learn at their own pace and treating them differently. It is also a key element in education that online learners are different, with unique needs and learning styles. Personalized learning empowers students to maximize their strengths and accelerate their progress.

What is the future of personalized learning? 

Personalized learning is not new, but it is gaining traction with educators and capital funders. It is all about giving students the support they need to learn at their own pace. It helps students make connections between their knowledge using different technologies and approaches.

How can parents support personalized learning at home?

Parents can support personalized learning by asking their children what they do at school and being aware of what assignments are given in class. Also, listen to what your child says about his or her day. This is one of the best ways to find out how engaged a student is with his or her learning.

SEE: Understand the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education

Final Thoughts 

Regarding education, we all are interested in seeing students achieve their full potential. Personalized learning tools can give educators the ability to better serve each student’s unique needs. 

No longer will today’s K-12 students be limited in their opportunities and dreams by the classroom of yesteryear. And technology can help teachers close the achievement gap.

Furthermore, it can reach every student with personalized lessons and instructional resources so that every child can succeed.

The ultimate goal of personalized learning is to give students a voice in how they learn so that they are constantly working towards their fullest potential.

For personalized learning to be effective, people need to understand that people learn differently. And as such, there are different learning styles. Learning styles are available to everyone, no matter what their personality.

Thanks for reading.