As a student, there have been so many times that I have been left behind in the classroom. Especially in college, we are learning at a pace that is very high speed, and every student is expected to buckle up and stay on track. Unfortunately, it is completely unrealistic to expect every student to be able to learn at the same pace, and that is why each student should be given a differentiated experience based on their learning needs. Personalized Learning, according to Robyn Howton in the article, “Turn your classroom into a personalized learning environment“, is instruction that offers pedagogy, curriculum, and learning environments to meet the individual student’s needs. This specific learning experience is created in order to meet the learning needs and interests of every student, which is important because it motivates each student to learn and allows them to work at their own pace. A better explanation of Personalized Learning in classrooms can be given in this video by Summit Learning:
A classroom that has implemented Personalized Learning does not look too different when compared to a “normal” classroom. According to Janice Vargo, Personalized Learning is self-reflection, which means that the classroom might have posters and goals that are up for each student to look at when assessing themselves. There is a good example of self-assessment posters and goals in Janice Vargo’s article titled, “Six Examples of What Personalized Learning Looks Like.” One difference between a general education classroom and a Personalized Learning classroom would be the technology that is available. It is important that the students in the classroom do not feel as though their resources are limited to the four walls around them. Personalized Learning means wanting students to discover the different technology that the world has to offer and how it can help them to better their education. Personalized Learning classrooms are often organized into stations based on different learning styles such as auditory, kinesthetic, or visual learning. Stations and areas can also be organized based on flexible seating options such as sitting on stools, carpets, bean bags, or bouncy balls. An example of flexible seating is also available in Janice Vargo’s article. Students in these classrooms can be found embarking on educational journeys that are their own. One comment that I read from a teacher named Robyn Howton, who has created her own Personalized Learning Environment is that it is a good idea to only release a part of the assignment, allowing the students to take it and run with it. This approach gives them the freedom to take on a path that is completely their own, which interests them more than telling them exactly what to do.
As with every educational approach, there are a few disadvantages to using Personalized Learning. One that comes to mind is that the students will often be tempted to procrastinate because their work is self-paced, meaning that they are not necessarily required to follow a schedule. A disadvantage for the teachers is that there is more work needed to keep up with each student’s learning method. The advantages to this approach outweigh the disadvantages, in my opinion. A couple of advantages that come along with Personalized Learning include: 1. The course is self-paced, which can be helpful to students if there are emergencies or illnesses. 2. The student is closer in relationship to the teacher when compared to a traditional lecture class. 3. The students are forced to learn how to study and learn how to learn. Students are taking initiative for their own education, which causes them to try harder and it allows them to form self-discipline.
After doing research on Personalized Learning Experience, I think that it is something that all teachers should consider implementing in their classrooms because it allows students to take initiative when it comes to their learning. Teachers can try multiple approaches in order to get the students excited about what they are learning, and the teachers can learn as they go. They can assess students throughout the year and change their learning techniques as they move along through their education. Teachers are also given the opportunity to learn about and learn from each student individually, which helps them to treat each student as the unique individual that they are. I think that as a teacher, this approach would help my students and myself to succeed in and out of the classroom.
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