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Woman Helping Students

Answering Student Needs in the Classroom

by Michael Feldstein and Phil Hill

Educause Review

Article excerpt

Personalized Learning: What It Really Is and Why It Really Matters

The two of us spent the past three years visiting colleges and universities that have undertaken so-called personalized learning projects, and we talked to the students, teachers, and administrators about what they are actually doing and why they are doing it.

Our take

Student Need, Pedagogy Drive Effective Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a trendy buzzword that may or may not have specific, relevant, meaning. These analysts set out, over a three-year period, to observe college and university classrooms, talking to students, teachers and administrators along the way. How could what they learned be used to make learning more personalized in your classrooms?

Technology plays a big role here, the authors explain—allowing instructors to move content out of the classroom (“flipping”) to provide more time in the classroom to focus on individual learners’ needs, to tutor and to coach. They point to six steps teachers can take to build a successful strategy, starting with the identification of the student need to be addressed. Choosing the technology to support instruction doesn’t come into play until Step 3, after designing the pedagogical structure. Faculty training, technology support and measurement/failing/iteration are the final steps. The big takeaway: technology doesn’t drive learning, student need and pedagogy do.