Categories : Weekly Blog
We know two critical things about learning: there are many ways to learn and people have different strengths when it comes to learning. In other words, reading, writing, watching and gaming are all ways that a person can learn, and each individual prefers a certain mix of learning styles. Why is it then that most schools do not apply personalized learning practices, at least not extensively?
Read on for some insights:
Benefits of Personalized Learning
The potential gains from personalized learning are staggering. A study way back in 1980 found that a group that benefited from personalized tutoring outperformed a comparison class: 98% of the tutored class out-learned the control group. This study “proved that the large majority of students had the capacity to learn much more if the experience was well designed and tailored to their needs.”
While this is only a single experiment, further implementation and study has yielded similar positive results and attracts investment, both from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s and his wife Priscilla Chan’s “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative” and the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”. It makes sense: if you have to do something and the alternative is something that is intuitive and easy for you rather than something you can’t stand, it stands to reason you will learn more with the method of your choice.
Current Ideas in Personalized Learning
Some of the ideas and methods utilized right now include online curriculums and content adhering to widely-used standards such as NGSS and the Common Core Initiative, designing innovative classrooms, project-based learning and competency-based education.
Using competence as a focus provides interesting alternatives to conventional progression in the classroom. With competency-based education, students progress to the next topic not when they’ve spent a set amount of time on the previous task, but when they display competence. This effectively means that students are allowed to learn each topic sufficiently well and also do not need to waste time when they’ve already mastered something.
There are some unique challenges when it comes to personalized learning. In some instances, educators and organizations may not even fully agree on (or understand) what it truly is. But arguably the greatest challenge is that it can be difficult and expensive to offer personalized learning experiences for everyone.
In a perfect world, every single student has their own private tutor, perfectly understanding the student’s strengths, needs and wants. In reality, however, it is likely that the future of personalized learning is in the conventional classroom. This presents additional challenges to both teachers and the learning materials.
Every student can’t have their personal tutor, but what if there were learning materials that were so diverse that every student could utilize their preferred method of learning? Picture a history lesson where students are divided into groups. One group is reading, the other watching a documentary with tablets and headphones. Another is playing a video game and taking notes as they are playing, comparing strategies to solve the issues presented by the game.
A teacher seeking to implement some level of personalized learning in their work only needs two things: the willingness to put in a little extra effort and the right materials. Take, for instance, our TeacherGaming Desk: an easy-to-use one-stop platform to bring games to your classroom. Every game comes with lessons that include extensive sources, links and activity ideas.
Personalized learning undoubtedly requires some commitment. You must learn which are the best ways to learn for each student. You have to collect a portfolio of materials for every occasion. But don’t fret - many great books, lecture series and extensive services are available. The best kind of multimedia learning tools don’t require you to make any materials of your own - instead, they are good to go with one click.