When introducing personalized learning it's useful to contrast with factory-model education. Under a factory model, students with wide variation in personality, interests, skills, and talents are exposed to a consistent educational experience. Unsurprisingly, there is wide variation in the results because the consistent learning activities resonate better with some students than others. So, we grade the students with some portion of the grade attributable to student effort and other parts attributable to evidence of subject mastery. When students with inconsistent backgrounds participate in consistent learning activities, it's not surprising that the results are also inconsistent.
Personalized education applies in two ways. For fundamental subjects like Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, the learning experience should be personalized to meet the diverse needs of individual students. Customizing the experience to each student's individual needs can result in consistent achievement in a diverse population.
With a foundation of core skills in place, the second form of personalization is supporting students as they pursue diverse interests - science, music, art, history, sports, and so forth. The most successful students have always personalized their education. The innovation is for institutions to deliberately participate in the personalization effort.
- Increased one-on-one time between student and instructor.
- Personalized learning paths with students able to choose from a variety of instructional formats.
- Competency-based learning models that enable individual-pacing with supports tailored to each student's learning level.
- Flexible learning environments that can be adapted to student needs, particularly when they have conflicting demands on their time.
- College and career readiness programs.