Personalizing Learning in Stages

Today I had the honor of spending the day with my friend Kathleen McClaskey and actually attending one of her workshops. I was able to make it to the Digital Education Show in Dubai to catch this one as she rarely makes it over to my neck of the woods. The day helped illustrate much of what she and Bray write about in their book Make Learning Personal.

I learned a lot today, despite having read the book, and one of the things that jumped out at me the most was the stages of personalized learning.  So much is said about what personalized learning is or is not, but in many ways much of what we think it is makes more sense when we look at the stages.

Stages of Personalized Learning Environments by Kathleen McClaskey and Barbara Bray.

Schools that are doing a great job differentiating, giving students choice, offering some student-directed options are on their way to personalized learning but are really just in stage 1.  They are personalizing learning – to a degree – but there needs to be some locus of control movement toward the student.

Though personalized learning in its purest form is ultimately about honoring the potential of all learners and growing self-directed learners through transfer of ownership toward learner-driven environments, any steps in this direction are welcome.  On the way there teachers and students must first take the  challenging step of sharing ownership.  In this phase 2 stage, students begin to assume ownership over content, learning strategies, projects, assessment design, and self-assessment relative to competencies.

Stage 2 is already a leap for most schools and teachers, but it creates a safety zone that assures stakeholders that there is still oversight and progress toward established standards.

So, is your education “personalized” if you only reach stage two? I feel like the answer is yes, to a degree.  If you are committed,  stage 3 will not be as distant a leap as you once thought.

Leave a Reply