Frequently Asked Questions
Personalized learning is a framework for
making learning meaningful and engaging
The personalized learning framework is different than the type of structured education system that has been in place for generations. It represents a shift in philosophy from doing teaching and learning to students, to doing teaching and learning with students. The phrases and ideas associated with personalized learning may be difficult to imagine in action, so it is not surprising that there are questions about how personalized learning works in the classroom.
Click on the questions below to see answers to the most frequently asked questions about personalized learning we've heard from district parents. Watch this page and the Personalized Learning in Edina web page for updates. We will continue to add examples and videos of classrooms to help our community better understand how this framework is helping all students learn and grow.
How is learning personalized?Here are key elements to the personalized learning framework:
- K-12 teachers gradually release control to the students for making desicions regarding learning. Although the journey for this gradual release may begin in kindergarten in small ways, it can become very robust and in depth by the time a student is a senior.
- Students are taught explicitly how to become an advocate for their own learning. This may include setting and reflecting upon goals, using feedback to assess progress, reflecting on standards that have been met and standards yet to meet, creating projects to demonstrate learning and student led conferencing.
- Learning progress is charted by mapping student mastery of competencies and standards students. As students get older, they take on the responsibility for charting this progress to develop more ownership over their learning.
- The personalized learning framework requires that teachers know their students very well. Specifically, they will know how students prefer to access information, engage in content and demonstrate their learning.
- Teachers develop a partnership with their students and find ways in which student voice and choice can be incorporated into the lessons. Providing choice is motivational to students. Flexible pacing allows students to learn at a pace that works for them, although a minimum pacing is expected to keep learners on track.
- Space is used to facilitate personalized learning as different room sizes and furniture provide learning spaces for small, medium and large group learning.
How does personalized learning serve the needs of advanced learners?In most classrooms, when the teacher is setting the learning pace, all students are expected to learn at the same rate. In a personalized learning environment, students have the opportunity to advance their learning as they demonstrate mastery of competencies and standards. As students show proficiency in the required standards, they will have opportunity to develop competency in additional standards.
Does personalized learning require students to rely more heavily on technology?Technology (computers, tablets, probes, digital cameras, heart rate monitors, calculators, internet access, etc.) is a tool commonly used in the workplace and in schools. Technology is a support structure for personalizing learning, with the teacher functioning as the coordinator of learning for all of our learning environments.
Won't applying a personalized learning approach be too much for a single classroom teacher to manager?Personalized learning involves teaching explicit skills to help students become better advocates for their learning. Here are some examples of these skills:
- Students setting and monitoring learning goals
- Students tracking learning progress by learning target or standard
- Students learning about ways in they successfully access information
- Students learning about effective ways for them to engage with information
- Students learning about ways they successfully express information
As students develop skills to better manage and advance their learning, teachers can dedicate more time to build relationships that meet the unique needs of each learner (i.e. becoming more familiar with learner strengths and challenges).
How will student assessment occur in a personalized learning environment?Assessment will always be a combination of real time measures (formative) during the learning, and standardized measures (after the learning). The intent of formative assessment is to help the learner and teacher understand where the learner is in the learning process and thus inform next steps to support the student. The intent of standardized measures are to ensure high levels of learning for all learners in the system. Resulting data offers teachers, program coordinators, and administrators meaningful and relevant information to examine the learning that occurred.
How will the impact of personalized learning in our district be monitored?Each year student growth and achievement is measured through the Assessment Plan posted on the district website. Academic achievement will continue to be monitored. Also, other non-academic factors will be studied including engagement, attendance, and discipline to name a few. Personalized Learning may be a new term but the practice is not new and has been around for many years in Edina. Our commitment to the community is to grow each brain as much as we can given the time we have.
Is personalized learning the next fad in education?Personalized learning, or designing learning around students' distinctive academic needs and even their personal interests, has been a long standing practice in education. All learning is personal in that it takes place in the brain of the individual. The structures used to make the learning personal and create an engaging, meaningful environment are constantly evolving.
How does the district plan to provide opportunities for students who demonstrate different academic readiness skills?Policy 620 Course Credit for Learning allows students who are entering into high school the opportunity to demonstrate what they know before taking a course. If they pass the assessment or portfolio process, then the student earns credit for that course and can move onto the next course in the sequence or take an additional elective. Policy 513 Student Promotion, Acceleration, Retention and Early Kindergarten Admission allows for students to advance at a pace that is appropriate for them. In addition to these policies, professional development is ongoing in which teachers are learning and sharing strategies for supporting learners who have different academic readiness needs. These trainings include components of Professional Learning Communities and Personalized Learning.