The Institute has developed a change strategy to guide schools and districts as they implement personalized learning. Based on our honeycomb model, this strategy focuses on change in three areas and in three phases: learning and teaching; relationships and roles; and structures and policies.
Learner profiles are co-created by educators and learners and comprised of rich, current information regarding each learner. They typically include at least four dimensions: demographic data, academic status, learning-related skill set, and potential learning drivers.
Customized Learning Paths
Customized learning paths allow learners to co-design with educators their learning rather than simply comply with the directions and expectations of adults. This component is designed to help learners take ownership of their learning, find greater meaning and purpose and become increasingly independent in their learning skills.
Proficiency-based progress and supporting standards represent what learners are asked to master. Standards provide clear targets for learning and help to drive intermediate learning targets and expected outcomes. Learner progress toward the standards is based on growing mastery, not seat time.
Personal Learning Goals
The direction established by standards provides a context for each learner to set, plan, and achieve personal learning goals. By establishing and working toward goals that learners have had a voice in creating and that are aligned to standards, student achievement increases.
Learner Choice Incorporated
This is the practice of providing real, significant, and authentic choices for learners about their learning, the learning environment, and the strategies and approaches that they will use. Allowing for learner choice not only builds greater commitment to learning among students but also positions them to learn from the outcomes of their choices.
This strategy recognizes that today’s learners come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures and that learning and teaching conditions that recognize, accept, and integrate culture as a part of learning lead to better results for students.
Customized Responsive Instruction
This strategy asks educators to find out what kind of instruction each learner needs, taking into account their individual readiness, strengths, needs, and interests.
Progressions Toward Deeper Learning
Deep learning that students have thoroughly integrated, applied, and is available to generate even more learning is of greater value than simple memorization. The goal is to drive learning to increasingly deep levels and support learners as they investigate, analyze, integrate, and create.
Standards Guided Learning
Standards guide collaboration between learners and educators and become the focus of and purpose for learning. Learners understand the specific standards toward which they are working, use them to guide their learning, and can articulate what meeting the standard will entail.
Assessment Of/For/As Learning
Assessment activities in the honeycomb model play a variety of roles.
Assessments of learning--summative assessments--typically occur at the end of the learning cycle. What the learner has learned should be well tracked and not a surprise in the final phase of the learning cycle.
Assessments for learning--formative assessments--occur, formally and informally, throughout the learning cycle.
Assessments as learning are those assessments that double as learning experiences and evidence of learning--usually classroom activities of some sort.
Rapid Cycle Feedback
A variety of research has reinforced the power of high-quality feedback to support and increase learning. Beyond being descriptive, objective, specific, and connected to learning goals, feedback must also be timely to have the greatest positive impact.
Multiple Instructional Methods/Modes
Learners vary in their preferences and responsiveness to different methods and modes of instruction. Certainly, direct instruction will be in this mix of options, but the methods and modes might also include digital and virtual learning options, collaboration with peers, and text and video analysis, among many others.
Learner Voice Infused
Closely associated with personal learning goals is the role of learner voice. When learners have opportunities to share their perspectives, participate in making decisions, set goals, and take ownership of their progress, their commitment to and confidence in learning grow.
An overarching goal of personalized learning is to develop learners’ skills, knowledge, and understanding so that they can succeed in the world long after they’ve graduated. Consequently, we need to give learners opportunities to make important choices and deal with consequences in ways that build decision-making skills.
Learner as a Resource
Learning starts where the learners are, not where we want them to be or where the curriculum imagines them to be. Students begin the process of learning by connecting new knowledge to what they already know, understanding and valuing the purpose of what they are learning, and aspiring to master new knowledge.
Communities offer rich opportunities for supporting learning and community members should be invited to play active roles in nurturing the learning and development of the next generation of citizens.
Co-designers of Learning
When combined with educators’ knowledge, skills, and experience, learners’ contributions can make a powerful difference in determining what they will commit to learn, how persistent they will be in the face of learning-related struggles, and how much pride and ownership they will experience.
Educators share insights, strategies, problems, and solutions with each other. Collaboration allows educators to learn from each other and to share ideas and resources effectively and efficiently.
Families can play the traditional roles of providing support for learning at home, but they can also review their children’s learning goals and activities, track their progress, and even serve as an audience for learner demonstrations and performances.
Shared Commitment to Success
When educators and learners see students as key resources to their own learning and appreciate the interdependence between educator and learner roles, they develop a shared commitment to success.
Recognition of Anytime Anywhere Learning
Learners move beyond the classroom to build their skills and expand their knowledge, which is formally recognized in their path toward proficiency.
Learning Aligned Technology
Technology has important roles to play in a personalized learning ecosystem, however, what matters is aligning technology to the learning needs of learners and the purposes of instruction.
Learner - Centered Staffing
In the personalized learning ecosystem, staff assignments can be differentiated according to staff members’ particular skills and expertise (and in some cases can be expanded to include non-certified staff).
Flexible Learning Spaces
The key to flexible learning spaces is that configuration of learning spaces needs to be determined by and aligned to the purpose of instructional practices and needs of the learner.
Flexible Time and Pace
Educators allow learners to accelerate or decelerate their pace of learning to ensure that it is rich and deep. Remarkably, when learners are given more control over the pace of their learning we typically see them accelerate their learning pace--often dramatically.
Integrated Data Management System
Educators need to be able to collect, analyze, and organize data easily and quickly--and as the personalized learning ecosystem develops, learners increasingly need to as well.
Learning Aligned Grouping Options
The instructional strategies employed and the roles learners and educators play makes the greatest difference when grouping learners,not the makeup of the group. For example, educators might cluster a small group of students who are ready to learn a particular concept and provide them with brief, strategic, and specific instruction.