Central to personalized learning is learner agency, but what exactly is learner agency? According to Chris Kennedy, Superintendent of Schools in West Vancouver, British Columbia says, “Learner agencey is characterized by a pedagogy that builds on the passions of learners and also has real world relevance. We are seeing numerous examples of this in our schools, and the school structure is also beginning to change to accommodate this transitions. School are adopting more flexible schedules, new and more personalized methods of reporting are being adopted, and examples of hands-on experiences from outdoor learning to community business partnerships are flourishing. many do see learner agency as being key the the future of schooling.” (Make Learning Personal 114)
Personalized Learning and Learner Agency
Learner agency is all about choice, voice, path, and pace. Learners need to have a stake in their learning, and they need to understand their learning preferences and passions. They need to be able to communicate how they learn best, when they learn best, and where they learn best. Simple tweaks to these things can be the difference between learning and not learning. We must start valuing learner input in our schools.
Personalized Learning and Relationships
Personalized learning is all about relationships. When personalizing learning, conversations between learner and teacher are deep and meaningful. It is almost impossible to not have a deeper more meaningful relationship with people who know you as a learner. Stronger relationships mean stronger cultures. Principals and other administrators can support personalized learning by developing the common vocabulary around these practices. Administrators can develop systems that honor and provide opportunity to solicit information about the learners. Relationships determine the culture of a building, and personalized learning enhances the whole system.
Personalization, Differentiation, and Individualization
The biggest hangup teachers, parents, and administrators have with personalized learning is really understanding where it fits in regards to differentiation and individualization. The chart below takes the guess work out of understanding personalized learning. Bottom line, personalized learning is student centered, and students are responsible for their own learning. This does not happen right away in the personalized learning transformation, but as teachers become more comfortable the student voice and responsibility grows.
Resources Mentioned in this show
5 W’s of Personalized Learning Course with Barbara and Kathleen (begins April, 2016)