How Can You Personalize Your Instruction? Some Great Tips

We are aware of the methodology of personalized learning , which focuses on creating learning environments which suit the needs of individual learners and for which there is a need of tailoring the pedagogy and curriculum.

Personalization of instruction

implies to take into account individual students characteristics and needs and flexible institutional practices, so that teachers can help their students develop personal learning plans, make them realize their cognitive strengths and weaknesses to help adapt the learning environment and instruction to learner needs and interests, and create authentic and reflective learning experiences for their students. Some basic points to consider for making learning personalized in order to develop personalized instruction are listed as below:

Personalized learning requires adjustments in the pace of instruction, so that it becomes more individualized.

Adjustments in the learning approach, such that the differentiated instruction can be developed.

Leveraging student interests and experiences to make learning personalized.

Making technology an aid to personalize learning.

Personalized learning is interesting because we can combine the emphasis on individual needs and also empower this approach with technology. But, technology alone cannot provide quick and easy solutions unless teachers supplement it with a shift in lesson design, which requires a lot of knowledge and a set of skills. Personalized learning, like all other models of instruction that attempt to introduce innovation in schools, is about professional development and support. In order to facilitate personalized learning, teachers should personalize their instruction. There are various ways to personalize your instruction, here are some tips which are practiced globally:

Know your students : You should know your student’s interests in order to act on them, know their learning styles and their ability levels. If you’re aware of all this, you will be able to be tend to your students  personally and build a learning environment suited to aptitudes, needs and interests of each student. You need to diagnose as to what the learning characteristics of each student are and discover student learning traits such as their level of development, learning style and learning history. Some basic development characteristics are visual perception, language pronunciation and cognitive thinking skills, examining these characteristics can tell you how developmentally ready your students are to learn.

Collaborate : Work together with your students in a co-operative social environment to develop meaningful learning activities for them. In this way, you can help students verbalize their ideas, sharpen their thinking and capitalize on differences. It is a fact that, students learn better in co-operative groups than when alone. Such groups encourage collaboration that is quite significant and results in better socialization than in traditional classrooms. Students gain a sense of belonging while working collaboratively, which becomes a motivator for students to do work. Collaboration is necessary for a personalized learning environment because it promotes interaction, dialogue and thoughtful reflection.

Know your pedagogy and content : Implement multiple paths to knowledge by having a variety of ways to help a diverse group of students learn a particular topic differently. The content you use for teaching should be such that, it is able to suit the common needs of a majority of students and can fit with their learning styles. The needs which are not met through this content should be addressed by you personally. Take aid of more than one resource or activity to teach a lesson and meet a goal or objective, so that you’re able to differentiate instruction, find ways to help the struggling learners, and progress your teaching to meet the needs of advanced learners.

Manage student learning and access available resources : When learning gets personalized, the classroom environment becomes such that, multiple activities may occur at the same time. This will require management of classrooms, data recording and use of a variety of assessments. Elementary school teachers are adept with managing a classroom, which has lots of activities going on, but other teachers may need additional resources for support. To cater to the needs of individual students, teachers should have multiple resources for each class. They can look online for great lessons which support different learning styles. For this, teachers may also need curriculum support from their district or school.

Authentic Assessment : Assessment is done in order to gather information about students and analyze their learning progress. Regular assessment, when subject to timely feedback leads to improvement in the performance of students. It enables you to know each and every student better by making you aware of his shortcomings and the areas in which he performs better, and thereby helps you in creating suitable personalized instructions. Testing is a part of assessment and assessment is not only restricted to tests, it goes beyond it and includes activities such as demonstrations, oral and written presentations, performances, contests, projects, and problem solving activities. The method of assessment should fit the purpose of instruction.

Use digital media : All students shouldn’t be required to show their learning in the same way and the use of digital media provides students with various options. It opens up a host of possibilities beyond the outdated essays, posters and reports. You can give your students additional choices such as asking them to create a PowerPoint slide show or a comic strip, using the available software, or ask them to film a skit using video cameras. In this way, individual student abilities come to surface.

Just as personalized learning transforms student learning, it can transform the teaching practices, as opportunities will be created for teachers to design the instructional resources that can support students individually. Hence, in this regard, personal learning holds great potential for both student and teacher development. If you have more of such tips, share with us. The Comment Box awaits you.

About the Author
Author: Saomya Saxena
Educational technology blogger, loves to research and write about tools and tips for educators on how to integrate technology into everyday instruction creatively and effectively. Fond of reading and writing.

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