Personalized learning describes a methodology, not just a set of goals. At it’s core it consists of offering different lessons for students that are at different skill levels, and allowing students to learn at their own pace. Personalized learning is an alternative to the “one-size-fits all” model of schooling.

The general goal is to make individual learning needs the primary consideration in educational and instructional decisions, rather than what might be preferred, more convenient, or logistically easier for teachers and schools.

Technology And Learning

Personalized learning promotes “student agency” by giving them the power to move through their own lessons using digital tools or other means. Technology is used to tailor lessons to each individual child. Digital tools can account for how a particular student learns best, what topics interest them, and what motivates them to succeed. Technology provides students with more choices to help them feel more empowered.

‘Working Definition’ Of Personalized Learning

A group of philanthropies and school and technology advocacy groups, compiled a four-part “working definition” of the attributes of personalized learning*. Per their definition, personalized learning should include:

Competency-Based Progression – Each student’s progress towards clearly-defined goals will be continually assessed. He or she will advance when they demonstrate mastery of a skill.

Flexible Learning Environments – The needs of the students will drive the design of the learning environment. All pieces of the operation plan; space utilization, staffing, time allocation, etc., will adapt to support the students in achieving their goals.

Personal Learning Paths – All students will be held to clear, high expectations, but each individual student will follow a customized learning path that responds to his/her individual progress, motivation, and goals.

Learner Profiles – Each student will have an up-to-date record of their individual strengths, needs, motivations, and goals.


*Sources: Developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Afton Partners, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, CEE Trust, the Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Charter School Growth Fund, EDUCAUSE, iNACOL, the Learning Accelerator, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Silicon Schools, and educators