Personalized Learning vs Individualized Learning: a second look

A short time ago I remarked upon the eSchool News article:  3 ways the flipped classroom leads to better subject mastery.  Once again the idea that for truly personalized learning to take place students need to be involved in choosing what they learn.  They do suggest limiting the choices: “One practical way to facilitate limited choice is through choice boards or selecting from a list.”

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/08/15/3-ways-the-flipped-classroom-leads-to-better-subject-mastery/

This reminded me of another post from last year which I happily repost below:

Should Learning Be Personalized or Individualized?

There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding Personalized Learning. What is Personalized Learning?  Is it really any different from Individualized Learning? Some people think so.

I read an interesting article on the subject of “personalized learning.”  For today’s students …

“The approach, called personalized learning, differs from the traditional classroom their parents probably experienced, when teachers gave unifying lectures and told all students to work on the same problems.

‘That sounds crazy. Why would you expect all students to need the same thing in math on that particular day?’ sixth-grade teacher Becca Kratky said.”

http://www.omaha.com/news/education/with-personalized-learning-students-plot-their-own-path/article_55757139-d235-535f-ad46-259416539139.html

While I agree with this, the headline from this article “With Personalized Learning Students Plot Their Own Path” should give one pause.

Whether you choose to call it individualized or personalized the key is the addition of the word “guided.”  Without guidance, students well ahead of others, those behind, and those in the pack are far more likely to falter.  With only rare exceptions, students should not choose “what” they learn and when they should learn it.  This is most especially true of students who have fallen well behind in math. What they must learn should be chosen for them.  Students who have fallen behind need an individual study plan that bypasses what the student already knows and focuses on that student’s individual needs. Add a professional educator overseeing the plan and monitoring progress and you have a recipe for success.  Call it personalized. Call it individualized. Call it what you will. Guided individual study plans are the best way to move math students ahead quickly.

 

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