The idea that school should focus on the learners might seem like a no-brainer. After all, helping people learn is the whole point of education, isn't it?
Of course, it's more complicated than that. The U.S. education system was based on and most teachers and administrators have been trained for an industrial age model of teaching and learning designed more for efficiency than efficacy. But it's our system, and we're used to it. Plus, change is hard. Even within a single school district, there are hundreds of people to get on board for every transition, from curriculum changes to tech integration. A paradigm shift as monumental as abandoning tried-and-true teacher-centered schooling in favor of student-centered, personalized learning is bound to be a hard sell in an environment that's perpetually short on funding and pressed for time.
"What holds schools and districts back is the time it takes to make change happen," " explain Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey, co-founders of Personalize Learning, LLC. " "It takes a shared vision, commitment by all stakeholders, a supportive human infrastructure that is self-sustainable and years to transform a system that is embedded in traditional teaching methods." "
This sounds like a tall order, and it is. Like all great transformations, however, it will happen when the pain of staying the same surpasses the pain of making a change. Has that time finally arrived?
Want to join them? Here are five tips to help you make the leap:
1. Learn more about the personalized learning revolution.
Although the basic concept of tailoring instruction to each learner may seem easy to grasp, there are a lot of moving pieces, from learning styles and pace to environment and technology choices, to consider. For a basic primer on the recent history of the personalized learning movement and words of wisdom from the experts, read " "Learning personalized: Putting the student-centric approach in focus" " in the first issue ofentrsekt, ISTE's new member magazine.
2. Get inspired by others' success.
If making such a big shift seems intimidating, take heart and find inspiration in the many schools and districts around the nation that are already embracing personalized and competency-based learning. Check out several state-based initiatives and success stories on the U.S. Department of Education site.
Don't feel like you have to jump into all facets of personalized learning all at once. In fact, it is often easier for both educators and students to integrate their new roles if they take it a little at a time. " "It takes a process to transform learning environments and change learner and teacher roles," " Bray and McClaskey say. " "This process does not happen overnight." " Read " "Personalize your learning environment" " to find out how they recommend getting through the first stage of the transition.