What is Personalized Learning?
In today’s world we expect to be able to customize services to better meet our individual needs. When we stop for coffee with friends, we expect that each of us will order differently, according to our likes and preferences; when we setup a shared computer or mobile device, we set it up with individual profiles, so that when we log on, the settings and apps are organized and available according to our needs; even our cable and video streaming services organize content for us according to our interests.
When we apply a similar type of customization in the educational arena, based on individual student interests, needs and preferences, we call it personalized learning. In Lake County Schools we believe personalized learning will help us engage students, enhance the learning process and promote greater student success. Watch the short video below to learn more.
Lake County’s Vision for Personalized Learning
To provide an environment where the learners drive their own learning and connect learning with their own interests and aspirations. In our vision, students:
- become active participants in the design of learning and identify goals and objectives for their own learning plans;
- develop the skills to use appropriate technology and resources;
- build networks of peers, experts and teachers for support;
- demonstrate mastery of content in a competency-based system;
- monitor the progress of their learning; and
- redefine learning activities and goals based on individual learner needs.
Our Five Goals
Personalized Learning is adjusting the pace and approach of instruction to best meet the individual needs, skills and interests of every student.
Lake County has identified five goals to help us successfully implement personalized learning (PL) for students. They are:
1. Establish the School and Classroom Culture to Support Student Directed Learning. Student Directed learning refers to the student being at the center of the learning process. In a PL classroom, the students take greater ownership of their learning, can articulate their progress in mastering standards, and understand what they need to do to continue to progress academically.
2. Establish Learner Profiles and Individual Paths to Mastery: Every student has individual strengths, needs, interests, and learning styles. In a PL classroom, the teacher works to leverage his/her understanding of how a student learns best in order to help each student succeed.
3. Establish Competency-based Progression: Once fully implemented, PL classrooms will have structures in place for students to progress upon mastery of the required standards.
4. Establish Flexible Learning Environments: A flexible learning environment refers to flexible groupings within the classroom, as well as learning opportunities beyond the classroom or school. Experiential learning opportunities like internships and externships are important components of PL.
5. Establish Metrics for Accountability and Continuous Improvement: The goal of PL is to improve student achievement, so critical to our implementation is establishing the metrics that will help us determine how well schools and classrooms are implementing PL, as well as what impact the implementations are having on student achievement. Using this data will help us ensure that we are continuously improving our PL implementation.
Why do we need Personalized Learning?
One of Lake County’s five goals for personalized learning is encouraging student-directed learning. Student-directed learning means that students are actively involved in the learning process and gradually begin to own their learning. In order to ensure we were including student voice during the process of developing our ideas around personalized learning, we assembled a Student Advisory Team which met in October, 2014. This team included students in grades 2 – 12, with two or three representatives from each of our eight pilot schools: Carver Middle School, Eustis High School, Lake Minneola High, Lost Lake Elementary, Sawgrass Bay Elementary, South Lake High, Umatilla High, and Windy Hill Middle School.
The interactive graphic below shows students’ thoughts and ideas relating to each of the five strands of Lake County’s personalized learning work: student—directed learning, learner profile and individual path to mastery, competency-based progression, flexible learning environments, and accountability and continuous improvement. The column headings show the referenced strand, and if you hover over any of the cells, you’ll see students’ comments.
The Student Advisory Team will provide ongoing input and ideas as we launch schools this fall and throughout our scale-up of personalized learning.