Last November, RAND published (with funding from the Gates Foundation) a
Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning, by John F. Pane, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Matthew D. Baird, & Laura S. Hamilton – http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1300/RR1365/RAND_RR1365.pdf>
In January, William R. Penuel and Raymond Johnson provided a review of the report for the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project at the National Education Policy Center – http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-personalized-learning. They conclude that “readers should be skeptical of what promise the report's evidence actually provides for any given model of personalized learning being promoted or considered. The study does suggest that some practices are associated with some test score gains, but those practices may be quite different from those promoted under the flag of personalized learning.”
We have long been concerned with the way the construct of personalization in classrooms has morphed and been co-opted, especially by those involved with bringing technology into the classroom.
For example, the term "personalization" was emphasized in the common core standards initiative, the proposed model core teaching standards, the 2010 National Education Technology Plan, and Race to the Top guidelines. In all these instances, the construct was defined inadequately.
And, with respect to "innovative" school practice, last year we noted concerns related to how the twenty New England schools in the League of Innovative Schools were developing "personalized learning experiences" to address the "distinct learning needs, interests and aspirations of individual students." (See http://newenglandscc.org/connecticuts graduation rate continues to rise/
All this, as well as the above report and review, are indications of how policy makers have embraced the concept of personalized learning and the various ways the term is interpreted. What the review of the report underscores is that personalization is becoming a hot issue.
We think it is essential at this juncture to engage folks in a broader discussion than is captured by those currently advocating for personalization in the classroom.
Unfortunately, discussions of personalized learning often do not distinguish personalized learning from personalized instruction and usually fail to place such learning and instruction within the context of other conditions that must be improved in classrooms and school-wide to address factors interfering with student learning and performance.
Our Center has focused on personalization for decades. Currently, it is a major facet of our National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports (http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/newinitiative.html ).
We stress that personalized instruction, in contrast to individualized instruction, strives to meet learners where they are - not only with respect to current capabilities, but critically with respect to motivational considerations. Moreover, even personalized instruction is insufficient for addressing common barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students. Such matters usually also require providing special assistance for students and the collaboration of teachers with student and learning support staff. Learning is a nonlinear, dynamic, transactional, and spiraling process, and so is teaching. And when it comes to addressing student learning, behavior, and emotional problems, teachers can't do it alone.
We hypothesize that properly conceived and implemented personalized instruction and student and learning supports are essential to enabling equity of opportunity, closing the achievement gap, assuring civil rights, promoting whole child development, and fostering a positive school climate.
We discuss all this in Adelman, H.S. & Taylor, L. (2006). The Implementation Guide to Student Learning Supports: New Directions for Addressing Barriers to Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
and in two modules for continuing education:
>Module I provides some background, commonly used definitions, and guidance for
personalizing learning. http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/personalizeI.pdf
>Module II highlights barriers to learning and teaching and classroom and school-wide
strategies that build on personalization to address such barriers and re-engage
disconnected students. http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/persII.pdf
We also have a Quick Find on the topic at http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/qf/classenable.htm ,
and other related resources can be freely downloaded from our Center website -- http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/ .
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON ALL THIS?
Send comments for sharing to Ltaylor@ucla.edu
For a range of resources related to this matter,
see: National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports in 2016
|In addition, see the list of Emerging Issues identified over the years by the Center and used as a stimulus for discussion on our Net Exchange - http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/newnetexchange.htm|
Previously highlighted hot issues
WebMaster: Perry Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)