How To Personalize Learning and Instruction

Most teachers would probably agree that a “one size fits all” approach to education doesn’t work well for students, but as classrooms become more crowded and diverse, and curriculum becomes more standardized, personalizing learning becomes more challenging.

Yet the more learning can be personalized, the more fun and interesting it can be – for students and teachers alike.

Below are tips for how to personalize learning for all students of all ages, in all subjects.

Data-Driven Instruction for Personalized Learning
Data-driven instruction is the science (and art) of collecting data, analyzing it, making decisions, and planning. This approach to personalizing learning can implemented comprehensively, or on a simple level. A simple level would be to start paying attention to how students learn, which test answers a class collectively got right (or didn’t), and adjusting your teaching style or curriculum.

Student-Centered Instruction for Personalized Learning
Student-centered instruction is a personalized learning approach that’s a shift from the traditional teacher-centered instruction, and it works particularly well with a diverse group of students. In student-centered instruction, the teaching centers around the students needs, interests, and culture. Through this type of personalized learning, students can become more self-directed and confident.

Inquiry-Driven Instruction for Personalized Learning
With inquiry-based instruction, you ask students what they want to learn in order to spark their curiosity and increase engagement. This personalized learning approach is radically different from the teaching method of merely delivering information. Inquiry-driven instruction places an emphasis on the student’s role and responsibility in the learning process. Students are encouraged to ask questions (any type of question) and share ideas (all ideas, no matter how far “off base” they might seem).

Assessments for Personalized Learning
Assessments – both formal and informal – can be a powerful tool in personalized learning, because they provide a feedback loop. Is a student understanding what you’re teaching? If not, how can you adjust your teaching style or materials to make learning easier? Summative assessments (conducted at the end of a block of teaching) and formative assessments (conducted during a block of teaching) can provide information that allows you to adapt how you teach to how your students learn.

Online Professional Development Course on Personalized Learning
If you’d like to master the art of personalized learning, we offer an online professional development course for teachers on personalized learning. In this 3-credit online course, you’ll learn best practices for applying personalized learning in your classroom. The online course (which is approved for LAUSD salary points and is available for graduate level credit) covers personalized learning models, examples, strategies, and technology tools.

Click here to learn more about our online personalized learning course for teachers.