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Overview

What is personalized learning, and what does it look like in practice?

At LEAP Innovations, we’ve considered this question a great deal as we work with educators to innovate in their classrooms. What are the core components of a truly learner-centered approach, and how do these translate into strategies to create this experience for learners?

While personalized learning is gaining traction nationwide, there is still much confusing terminology surrounding it, as well as conflation with blending learning and other terms. For educators ready to embrace the concepts of personalized learning, there is a need for support in translating these concepts concretely into strategies. What does personalize learning look like in terms of teacher practice? And what is the student experience?

We set out to address this need. We started by leveraging the strong base of definitions, guides and other resources already developed by experts across the country. We co-designed with teachers and school leaders. We worked directly with additional experts from across the country to generate and refine our framework and strategies. And we looked to learning science to back our assertions.

The resulting framework is meant to support learning of all kinds, in school and out of school. We believe all learning should be focused on, demonstrated by, and led with the learner, connected meaningfully with mentors, peers and the community.

Included with the framework is a growing sample of strategies for each core component, designed for school-based educators, to help them create a personalized learning experiences for their students. We plan to expand these strategies in the future to make them useful for parents, community organizations, and other stakeholders.

We have also developed the LEAP Personalized Learning Surveys – for teachers and for students – to help measure the degree of personalization in the classroom, and how this changes over time. Both surveys were developed with the highest standards in partnership with American Institutes for Research, an independent behavioral and social science research and evaluation organization. Both were piloted with Chicago teachers and students last spring, and were further informed by expert-teacher focus groups, as well as interviews with students and teachers to check for understanding and look for biases. These surveys are available as a resource to personalized learning classroom and schools across the country.

Using the data from these surveys, our next step will be to develop, again in collaboration with experts, a set of national standards for personalized learning. These will help us further inform measurement of personalized learning, as well as capture and codify best practices for the field.

The framework and its corresponding resources are living documents, and will continue to change within the context of this exciting and developing field. We welcome your thoughts and feedback. Please get in touch with us at hello@leapinnovations.org.

Acknowledgements

Educators

Beth Bolling
Chris Brekke
Colleen Collins
Jon Deane
Nancy Dohr
Casey Fuess
Paula Kaiser
Krista Krauter
Georgia Melidis
Rita Nolan
Sarah O'Connell
Angela Patterson
Mairi Pearce
Jim Rickabaugh
Lauren Rosen
Nicole Spindler
Jeffrey Taege
Lisa Welch
Karl Wiedegreen

Acknowledgements

Organizations

organization
American Institutes for Research
Center for Individual Opportunity
Competency Works
organization
Education Reimagined, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
organization
iNACOL – International Association for K-12 Online Learning
Mindset Works
National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector
organization
NewSchools Venture Fund
organization
Next Generation Learning Challenges
Q.E.D. Foundation
Seton Montessori School
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The Institute for Personalized Learning – a division of CESA #1
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