When learning is personalized, teachers help students find what they like and want to learn about and what their strengths and needs are. Then, the teacher sets up projects that are in line with the students’ interest and with academic standards. This growing movement is focused on changing the learning environment so students can take more ownership of their learning and teachers can work with them to discover their passions and interests.
The breakthrough idea in personalized learning is the striking shift in the teacher-student team. In traditional learning, the teacher is the leader and the student is a mostly passive recipient. In personalized learning, the student is the leader, and the teacher is the activator and the advisor.
In personalized learning, the teacher-student bond doesn’t matter less; it matters more. Personalized learning creates deeper teacher-student bonds because the teacher has to know the student to customize a program and to offer advice.
In November 2014, the Foundation released an interim report from the RAND Corporation—the first in what will be a series of research reports based on an ongoing long-term study of foundation-funded schools that are using a variety of approaches to personalized learning. Although the early results are encouraging, the study does not attempt to make claims about which aspects of these schools contributed to the gains in student learning to date.
Learn more about our work to support teachers and schools as they create systems, tools, and methodologies that tailor instruction to the individual needs, skills, and interests of each student, in an effort to accelerate and deepen learning.