Why personalised learning?

innovative educationOften when teachers hear the term ‘personalised learning’ and believe it to be a completely open ended system of teaching and learning, but personalised learning still holds explicit teaching at it’s core.  Explicit teaching that is tightly focussed and targeted to specific student needs.  In the majority of settings, personalised learning is already being used in various forms, Individual Learning Plans, ability grouping and differentiation.  But these methods are teacher centric, true personalised learning is a student centric pedagogy.  One where students decide on the path of their learning in collaboration with teachers by setting short term goals, and developing a path to succeed.

However, personalised learning doesn’t just happen oven night.  It is a massive pedagogical shift.  Teachers shift their role to that of a facilitator of learning, rather than a supplier of curriculum content.  Students shift their role from passive knowledge sponge to be a social constructor of knowledge.  Students need to take greater responsibility for their learning and to develop the competencies of flexibility and adaptability for their continued success in our rapidly changing and shrinking world.

This rapid social change and the sheer volume of new knowledge being created daily are two of the catalysts for the required shift in curriculum.  The content we expect the students to acquire by the time they graduate school is outdated by then, and is superseded by the rapidly evolving new knowledge.  The jobs they will work in, haven’t been invented yet.  The skills of regurgitating second hand knowledge and answering questions on an exam to prove their subject knowledge are becoming rapidly obsolete.  Those are Industrial Age skills.  Sure they are still relevant in the Post Industrial Age to an extent, but they are not the ways in which our students learn and work to the highest possible range of their abilities.

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