What is Personalized Learning?

personalized learning definition

That’s the best definition of personalized learning I’ve seen or heard. It rings true with everything I believe education should be. The problem with “personalized learning” is that there are many, many definitions and competing interests for the term. For the purposes of this site:

  • It’s not computer software delivering yet another assessment.
  • It’s not an algorithm deciding what comes next for a student learning to read.
  • It’s not students making all the decisions about content and direction.
  • It’s not a strategy to employ for special projects.

I’ve been fortunate to see Kevin Croghan @mrcroghan  speak numerous times at various edconferences. I recently came across a great framework he created for thinking about what personalized learning is.

I love this because it reflects the multi-dimensional nature of teaching and learning in a way that will allow the learner to become deeply engaged in meaningful, authentic, and rigorous learning experiences. It’s not just a strong lesson plan and multiple approaches. It’s not just building relationships with students and making sure student agency is in place. There’s a lot to it, and it’s not easy. It’s hard.

To paraphrase Jimmy Duggan from one of my all-time favorite movies, A League of Thier Own: “The hard is what makes it great.”

Jimmy was talking about baseball – a game that we play for fun. But it’s still hard to play at a high level. There are a lot of parallels there with teaching. Teaching is hard. But if it wasn’t fun, I never would have lasted 33 years.

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