Personalized Learning is the new buzz word in education. In a personalized learning system students learn at their own pace with structure and support in challenging areas. Learning aligns with interests, needs and skills and takes place in an engaging environment where students gain a better understanding of their strengths.
Personalized learning may include specific practices such as flexible learning environments, learning styles profiles, weekly or monthly coaching support, blended or online learning and project based learning. There are 5 primary benefits of personalized learning.
First, student engagement and achievement are increased. Since personalized learning aligns with a students interests, it is expected that motivation and focused learning will increase significantly.
Secondly, P.L. increases growth mindset. The day to day mundane path of forced learning is gone and students that are more engaged are more open to thinking outside of the box they are use to thinking in.
Thirdly P.L. builds decision-making and self-advocacy skills. Students learn to think about their way of thinking and not just to take in what they heard or read.
Fourthly, for kids with special needs labels, the stigma of special education is reduced significantly. The focus is no longer on moving from class to class to receive services, but all of learning is individualized and focused on the student’s learning needs and not their disabilities.
Lastly, P.L. offers students who think differently multiple ways to show and experience what they have learned. The environment and space for learning reaches outside of the classroom and into the world, making learning a life long adventure and process.
There are also some challenges to take into consideration when considering Personalized Learning. Because students with disabilities have widely varying needs, without support from support personnel, they may fall behind. Students without proper technology may not be able to access the needed classes or support for specific subjects. Parents need to stay included, informed and empowered through the P.L. community. Personalized Learning places a great demand on a students executive functioning skills and educators must be ready to support students in this environment. Some form of assessing may be considered in P.L. so that valid and reliable data is noted on performance and progress.
We are fully convinced that Personalized Learning is an experience that every student can benefit from. It is important to take into consideration the pros and cons and how that would impact your child. Solimar Academy and our personalized coaching program understands this is not something we expect you to do alone and is able to offer you the weekly or monthly customized support as you need to give your child the tools to be successful in their learning journey.
-Dawn Jackson, Solimar CEO