Each student has an individual way of learning and their own pace when it comes to addressing different subjects. Wouldn't it be wonderful if teachers could meet all individual learning needs for each student? It definitely would!
A personalized learning approach would come with a shift of perspective, changing the focus from the educational system to the students, giving the latter more control over their learning experience and connecting learning with their interests, talents and passions.
While the concept of personalized learning is a rather old one — teachers have sought to craft instruction to meet individual student needs for generations — the explosion of "smart" technology has only recently begun to make its presence felt in classrooms. Technology and BYOD play an important role in the development of personalized learning. Thanks to all the technological advances, creating the environment for customized learning experiences doesn't seem like an effort of gargantuan proportions (as it was in the past) but rather a manageable task.
How LMSs support personalized learning
Nowadays, students need to have an active voice in their learning process. LMSs support this need and also give them the power to choose between the type of learning materials or the level of depth necessary for certain subjects. By accessing modern learning management systems, students can be more easily involved in class planning and assessing activities. They can even assess themselves or their peers in some cases. Independent work, with minimal teacher intervention or assistance and self-direction are also encouraged, leading students to become more self-paced and independent in their learning.
Teachers can use learning management systems as a tool to create courses, keep track of class attendance, manage learning materials from a centralized repository, assess student activities and grade them. The best part of including an LMS in their day-to-day teaching activities is that they can use the reports fed by the system to identify potential roadblocks for each student and adapt the input and requirements accordingly.
The social and collaboration tools that usually come along with an LMS act like a two-way street, supporting conversation both between educator and student and among students. The possibility of giving — and receiving — continuous and meaningful feedback allows faster and constructive communication, supports the recognition of learning struggles and contributes to the identification of particular steps that must be took to improve upon the shortcomings.
Personalized learning — the latest fad?
Some fear that even with all technological advances teachers could never get to create personalized learning experience for each and every student in every school. Perhaps they are right, but customized approaches have always had better results than standardized ones.
Others fear that all this smart technology will soon make the role of the teacher redundant. But this doesn't have to be the case. Some soft skills could never be taught by artificial intelligent machines and require a human touch in order for students to really get a grasp on them.
Adopting a personalized learning approach benefits both students and teachers because they both have active roles in class. This transforms classrooms to dynamic and conducive areas for growth and learning. It is powerful and empowers and engages students to become self-directed learners.
What is your stance on personalized learning? Do you consider it benefits teachers and students? Share your thoughts in the feedback section below!