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How school districts can personalize the learning experience for students


A one-size-fits-all learning approach is no longer enough in modern K-12 education. This method leaves some children bored and disengaged as they’re learning things they already understand, while others are left with questions and doubts. 

Different learning styles are fueling a surge in adaptive learning technology and personalized learning in K-12 school districts. Flexible learning plans and customized learning strategies tailored around individual students’ learning characteristics, like their interests, needs, and abilities, can significantly affect the classroom experience. 

Keep reading to learn five strategies for personalizing the learning experience for students in your district. 

The Importance of Personalized Learning

When using personalized learning programs, the speed and method vary for each student, but the goal remains the same — every student aims to reach a certain academic level by the end of the topic or school year. 

Every person is unique, and so are their learning style and pace. Therefore, tailoring the learning experience to individual students’ needs allows every student to achieve educational excellence based on what interests them and how they learn. 

Here are the benefits of personalized learning:

  • Personalizing the learning experience can teach students valuable skills that go far beyond academics: Because students decide their own learning process based on what works best for them, they learn vital skills that can serve them throughout their lives, such as
    • Engaging in goal setting develops reliability and motivation
    • Discovering how they learn best boosts self-advocacy skills
    • Participating in self-assessment builds self-reflective abilities
    • A personalized learning program improves retained knowledge significantly: According to the Gates Foundation, students’ test results improved substantially when using customized learning to supplement math and reading instruction. The average grades went from way below the national average to significantly exceeding it. 
  • Teachers can focus their time more efficiently: Many personalized learning programs utilize individual or collaborative activities, freeing teachers to focus on smaller groups for a more targeted teaching approach.

Students with weaknesses feel more confident learning without stigmas: Personalized learning enables students to gain the information they need while filling in necessary gaps without the “special ed” stigma.

5 Strategies For Personalizing the Student Learning Experience

Enable your students to maintain the same level of learning by treating each individual according to their unique strengths and weaknesses with personalized learning. Here are five ways you can enhance personalized learning in your district.

Strategy #1: Utilize the Power of EdTech

What better way to engage and connect with modern students than by utilizing the power of technology, specifically educational technology (EdTech). Technology is everywhere, and it plays a crucial role in how students learn. School districts can create an enhanced personalized learning program by implementing e-learning systems that dynamically track and manage individual students’ needs. And the best part is it’s not tied to the four walls of a traditional classroom. Teachers, students, and parents can access and leverage cloud-based software anytime, anywhere. 

Incorporating technology during class instruction can foster better student engagement for visual and auditory learners. Integrating simple technologies like games, PowerPoints, digital grading systems, and internet homework assignments can significantly enhance academic growth. 

Strategy #2: Allow Students to Have a Say in Their Learning

Involving students in their learning helps them build crucial life skills like self-advocacy, responsibility, and taking ownership of actions. Personalizing content delivery and giving the student a choice in how they learn helps them improve by giving them control of their learning environment. 

You can give students a voice in their learning by offering them choices. For example, allow them to choose between listening to audio versions of a book or reading it themselves or allowing them to decide whether they prefer to take notes on paper, online, or by recording them verbally. This type of customized learning empowers students to choose the best process for them. 

Strategy #3: Encourage Students to Improve Time Management With Digital Planners

Digital planners can help students hone their organizational skills while helping to prioritize subject knowledge, improve their learning experience, and free up time for activities outside of school. 

Encouraging students to use a digital planner may be the first time your student has a choice in their learning, so they may need help understanding how to manage it properly. It can be a process, but with some patience, students can allocate their time more efficiently by inputting tasks for certain days of the week based on outstanding and new tasks as they arise. Students can also use digital planners to create and track actionable and measurable long-term goals. 

Strategy #4: Create Personalized Learning Playlists

Personalized learning playlists are much like music playlists, where students choose their preferred learning experiences while ensuring they still learn all the necessary materials and topics. 

Alberto Herraez, a fifth-grade teacher, used a site designed to look like Netflix’s interface to allow students to choose their lessons based on individual learning styles and preferences. Their “user profiles” correlated to how well they were doing in the class, while the “recently watched” and “keep watching” sections referred to featured lessons from the previous week and different types of activities subsequently. 

Instead of forcing students to learn in a specific way, the idea was for personalized playlists to curate choices that acknowledge and respect student differences and their ability to choose their own path to educational excellence. 

Similar to playlists, Herraez also used choice boards in the classroom. Activity sheets featuring a grid of learning activities, each worth a different amount of points ranging from 10 to 35 depending on the amount of effort each takes, encouraged students to reach 100 points by the end of the term. The only catch was that they needed to complete at least one activity from every category, which equated to trying different learning styles to determine which worked best for each student.

Strategy #5: Arrange Classrooms to Look Like Modern Work Environments

The point of quality education is to prepare students for the future workforce. A traditional classroom has students sitting in rows of desks that face the front of the room. This setup began long ago when that classroom style reflected the era’s workplace. But this is no longer the case. 

The modern workplace has employees working collaboratively in groups, moving around, sharing ideas, and focusing as a team rather than on one individual. Arranging the contemporary classroom to look the same way prepares students to work in a similar situation in the future. In addition, incorporating different “work” spaces enables students to work on various projects that entirely depend on their needs and abilities.

Empower Personalized Learning In Your School District With Edsembli

Student differentiation can make it challenging to manage class instruction; Teachers can’t halt the entire class’s progress just to focus on individualized learning for those falling behind, and they can’t look the other way for the students who learn quicker.

Personalizing the learning experience with an integrated ecosystem like Edsembli unifies all your departments with a dynamic cloud-based platform purpose-built for education. As we shift toward offering an enhanced education for all students, regardless of their needs and abilities, we’re ready to guide and support you in building a better tomorrow for all. 

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