Personalized learning is hard to get right, especially within a system that was created as a one-size-fits-all solution that moves students along based on age-appropriate cohorts. Our traditional system of education is designed to motivate students externally through grades, rather than internally through interest, passion, and relevance resulting in a large percentage of students becoming discouraged and disengaged.
Recent studies have found that nearly half (47%) of students who dropout of school do so because they were either disengaged in their learning or fell behind in their work and had no real way of catching up.
Our current system is also filled with obstacles for teachers wanting to personalize the learning experience for students including a lack of time for teachers to create lessons to differentiate, external pressure to move students ahead (whether they mastered the material or not), inconsistent student data to analyze, and a lack of quality online resources.
But change is happening and the shift towards personalized learning for students is beginning to gain momentum. Technology now provides the potential for teachers to change the way they engage and empower students, to refine the way they deliver their instruction, to reach classrooms filled with multiple learning styles, and to build their capacity as educators by shifting to a model of connected teaching & learning. The road ahead will be paved with difficulties and challenges but according to Burt Rutan, winner of XPRIZE, “the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” With vision and leadership, personalized learning for all students is absolutely attainable.