Start with the Learner
Where Technology Fits In
Each learner is unique and learns in
different ways. Personalized learning
is built on the idea that the learner:
his or her learning
his or her learning
and learning environment
are partners in learning
to demonstrate mastery
With personalized learning, anyone
can be a learner. The term student implies
someone in a class being taught by a
teacher. Learners, in contrast, drive their
learning from anywhere at anytime.
Technology plays different roles in individualization, differentiation, and personalization:
Personalization. Learners have access to a set of technologies to support their own
Differentiation. The teacher adapts instruction and chooses technology to support
groups of learners.
Individualization. The teacher selects technology for each student’s individual
Personalized learning is not the same as adaptive curriculum, where technology drives
is also not just about giving each learner his or her own device. The technology is there to
support—not drive—the learning.
The focus of personalized learning is not on the technology but on the learner’s motivation, engagement, and voice. And, according to researchers Eric Toshalis and Michael
learners have a voice in how they learn, they will be motivated to engage in the learning
Learning environments should be able
to flex to fit how each learner learns best.
But it takes a process over time to achieve
this flexibility. Traditional teaching with direct instruction is ingrained in our system.
This is what most teachers were taught.
That’s why moving to any of the stages
takes time and vision. Here is a condensed
version of the stages of personalized learning environments (PLEs).
Before you attempt to transform learning
and teaching with a PLE, consider where
you and your learners are now and then
decide which stage is a feasible goal for
your classroom, school, or district. Keep
in mind that roles change for teachers
and learners in all three stages.
Download the complete chart at www.
The Stages of Personalized