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What is Personalized Learning & What Does It Look Like?

Exploring definitions and strategies of personalized learning highlighted a central focus on student centered learning while also exposing how varied and numerous the approaches may be. The U.S. Department of Education defines personalized learning as follows:

“Personalized Learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) all may vary based on learning needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self initiated.”

A successful personalized learning model relies on the seamless integration of individualization, differentiation, and student interests.  While each of these elements is often used independently, building a cohesive strategy involving all three creates a learning experience in which each step of the learning cycle is tailored to the student. For educators and systems to achieve this encompassing goal, often many strategies and tools must be employed simultaneously, and structures must be in place to support educators in leveraging these resources efficiently.