by Jim Rickabaugh
There is little question that we are experiencing the emergence of a national movement toward learner-centered, personalized learning. Just a few years ago, it was unusual to hear educators talking about how they were changing their practices to place learners at the center. There were only a few clusters of personalized learning practitioners scattered across the country. Only a small number of learners had the opportunity to experience learning that featured authentic, meaningful choices, co-created experiences, and a focus on growing their ability to learn independently.
Today there are connected networks of personalized learning practitioners in most areas of the country and they are expanding rapidly. Expertise in personalized learning practices is growing and an increasing number of supports are becoming available to educators.
This “grass-roots” growth is especially exciting because major system and national policy shifts that are sustainable and result in meaningful changes in our society typically begin at the local level. The shifts grow as individual practitioners and advocates form networks, share experiences and learning, and collaborate to build momentum and encourage others to join in the movement. As new approaches become more familiar and stabilize, best practices and useful frameworks emerge. Eventually, various elements and aspects of the movement coalesce around the most effective practices, frameworks and tools. Often, this is the point at which momentum for change accelerates and what has been considered an innovation increasingly becomes the preferred approach.
I am excited to share the most recent example of the growing maturity and strength of the learner-centered movement. The Institute for Personalized Learning is collaborating with other leading edge learner-centered experts through Learn Next: A Toolbox for Educators to Transform Practice — an amazing new learning platform for aspiring and current personalized learning practitioners. The Institute has developed learning modules that focus specifically on personalized learning, but the content also draws from and builds on the work and expertise of others in the collaborative. Other participating organizations have created modules to build knowledge and skills in their areas of expertise. The result is a rich array of online, practical, flexible, high impact learning experiences for practitioners. And best of all, these learning modules are FREE!
We see Learn Next having many applications. Teams of educators can utilize the learning modules as they learn together. Educators who are interested in changing their practices, but find themselves in a setting that cannot or does not provide support for their learning can build their knowledge and practice. And, educators can explore new areas of practice to expand their skills and extend their knowledge in areas of interest and need.
Never before has such a robust array of learning opportunities been available to educators who want to learn about and sharpen their personalized learning practices. We look forward to continuing our collaborative partnership on this project, and connecting and supporting practitioners to take advantage of these rich and varied resources. Are you ready to join the movement to create a learner-centered ecosystem? Sign up for Learn Next and start learning today!