Here's a glimpse of a common classroom scenario: The bell rings to signal the end of yet another Algebra lesson. The teacher leaves, thinking their job is done. On the contrary, more than half the children are puzzled about the connection between "x" and "y". Only a handful of students have understood the concept and are ready to move on to the next one.
These scenarios happen all too often. The real objective of teaching and learning is lost in our redundant, one-size-fits-all strategies. We cannot blame our teachers for not halting their sessions to help the students who have fallen behind. We cannot ignore that every student learns at their own pace. This is where personalised or customised learning comes into the picture.
Customised Learning & Its Key Aspects
Customised learning is based on the principle that every child learns in different ways and at different paces. The prime objective of this model is to help students take ownership of their learning process.
Rather than children adapting to a rigid, one-size-fits-all learning approach, customised learning works the other way around. The concept implies that teachers should develop and implement customised programs for every single student in the class. Although the vision and idea seem brilliant, it is practically impossible.
However, the point is to implement customised learning whenever and wherever possible. A customised learning approach allows students to:
- Work with their teachers to set short-term and long-term goals.
- Determine when and how they will learn based on their interests and talents.
- Collaborate with teachers to devise and implement the right strategies.
- Take up responsibility for their academic success and failure.
- Create personalised pathways for academic success.
- Realise their contribution and impact on the classroom community.
- Ask for support when they need help with new concepts.
- Learn skills that go beyond academia and help them in real-life situations.
- Learn without the stigma and tag of special-ed or 'weak student".
- Pursue academic interests that resonate with them.
- Build self-reliance, resilience, and authentic engagement.
- Address social-emotional needs and achieve a growth mindset.
Implementing personalised learning requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are some proven, result-oriented strategies you can incorporate in your school or classroom.
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9 Winning Strategies to Implement Personalised Learning
1. Capitalise on tech tools
It would be a crime not to use tech tools in your personalised learning strategies in this digital era. Tech tools and online learning solutions create a conducive ground for personalised learning that's possible anywhere. Advanced, AI-powered PSLE learning apps like StudySmart, Singapore comes with question banks, auto marking, instant feedback, and detailed analysis. With such customisation, students can learn easier and faster, but at their own pace.
2. Educate your teachers
For personalised learning to succeed, your teachers need to understand the process, methods, and goals involved. Remember that your teachers are the medium to carry forward and implement the strategies. So, before getting started, have an in-depth discussion, impart specific training, and prepare your teachers to get the show on the road.
3. Understand your students
Before charting a course for personalised learning, you need to investigate what your students know and do not know. Gather all the data you need through surveys, questionnaires, formative assessments, and tests. Use the collected data to design personalised instructions for a small group of students before including the entire class.
4. Allow student participation
Give your students a chance to participate in the goal-setting process. This inclusion will motivate them and help develop self-advocacy skills. Increased participation will also curb dropout rates because it gives students more control over their learning environment.
5. Provide multiple opportunities
Standard tests, exams, and essays must be conducted from time to time. However, it is also okay to give students other opportunities to show their knowledge.
- Encourage them to use Google Forms to assess class engagement.
- Create topic-based projects and assignments.
- Ask them to give a presentation embedded on the school website.
- Let them become teachers for a while.
Also Read : Mathematics: How & Why it “Adds” to Your Success
6. Make classrooms flexible
Flexible classroom layouts have become increasingly popular for benefits beyond aesthetic appeal. Educators say that classroom flexibility contributes to:
- Improvement in concentration and class attendance
- Better convenience and comfort for students
- Decrease in discipline issues
- Positive classroom atmosphere
7. Allow ample breaks
All students need a break to move, drink water, eat a snack or visit the restroom. Teachers should watch for cues that indicate it's time for a break. Younger students often tend to slouch, become fidgety, and lose focus. When such signs crop up, there is no point in carrying on with the class. Instead, announce a break and allow students to relax and rejuvenate before the next session commences.
8. Create a playlist
One smart way of implementing personalised learning is to offer a choice of activities related to a particular topic, such as:
- Individual learning activities
- Digital content
- Peer-to-peer activities
- Independent activities
- Hands-on activities
- Group games
- Role-playing activities
Students should have the freedom to pick an activity on a rotational and choose what works best for them. Students learn everything necessary, but do so at their own pace.
9. Flip instructions
Flipped instruction is a new trend that involves inverting the normal learning process where children learn in school and do activities at home. Instead, in flipped instruction, children watch and listen to recorded lectures at home, and engage in activities during school hours. The benefits? Students watch lectures at their own pace and also interact with teachers online to clarify doubts or ask queries. This method can be particularly beneficial for children who are slow in understanding a live session. Online interactions will also help them overcome shyness and other inhibitions.
It won't be long before customised learning becomes a trend. Effective customised learning requires skilled guidance and implementation by thoughtful teachers. It also requires a conducive atmosphere where students can share their ideas, thoughts, and questions.
Are you an institution looking to implement customised education with digital tools? Get in touch with our StudySmart team, and we shall show you the way.