All Articles Education Edtech 5 questions that determine readiness for personalized learning

5 questions that determine readiness for personalized learning

3 min read


This post is sponsored by ISTE

Personalized learning is emerging as the future of education. At its foundation, personalized or student-centered learning recognizes that each student has diverse needs, learns differently and have unique interests. It also respects the role of students as owners of their learning, while expanding teachers’ roles to act as guides who assist individual students on their learning journey.

Think “guide on the side” versus “sage on the stage.”

Cheryl Lemke, president CEO of Metiri Group, a consulting firm dedicated to advancing effective uses of technology in schools, is an expert on personalized learning. And research and practice tell her that schools and districts need to ask some tough questions in preparation for implementing a student-centered learning approach.

Questions like: Why is it important? What do I need to do to change policy structures to create this type of environment so teachers and students will be successful? How will we gauge progress?

“I’ve identified five things schools and leaders should consider when staging for personalized learning,” Lemke explains.

Those five indicators will be at the core of her interactive session, “Gauging Readiness for Personalized, Digital Learning,” at ISTE 2015. Lemke will show participants how they can assess their readiness for personalized learning and how to review their progress as they move toward implementation.

Here are the five indicators Lemke says will make or break a school’s progress toward personalized learning:

  1. Self-directed learning. Personalized learning requires students to own their learning, be able to check their progress against standards, ask questions and reflect on their learning. Have you begun instilling self-directed learning techniques in your students?
  2. Competency-based learning. For learning to be student centered, we have to own up to the fact that kids are on their own paths. Is your school prepared to accept this premise?
  3. 24/7, 365 access to technology. Students no longer do all of their learning at school. They now have technology that, when accessed properly, can allow for authentic learning. Can you give up the notion that all learning happens on the school site?
  4. Alternative assessments. Standardized tests are not necessarily the best way to know if kids are learning. Is your school ready to move toward embedded assessment and alternative ways of measuring learning?
  5. Digital learning environments. Students need to be able to do the kind of work personalized learning will ask them to do. This requires learning environments that are seamless, easy to use and collaborative in nature. Are you moving toward creating this type of environment?

“I’ll also talk about the idea of student engagement, how to measure that and how to use it as an indicator of whether you are making progress in moving to a personalized learning environment,” Lemke adds.

It’s a session that all those who will be involved in moving their school toward personalized learning should attend – superintendents, staff development coordinators, curriculum directors and teacher leaders.

Those who attend will gain a better picture of what is required of students with personalized learning, will understand how the teacher’s role will change and will gain a sense of the technology tools that can be used to drive personalization.

“Personalized learning is not new; we’ve had it as a goal for years. It’s just never been possible at scale before. Now, with technology, we can do it,” Lemke explains.

Julie Phillips Randles is executive editor of the ISTE magazine entrsekt.