Recently, the RAND Corporation published a report by the name "Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning." This report was funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has engaged RAND to carry out an ongoing study of foundation-funded schools that are employing promising approaches to personalized learning.
The study analyzed mathematics and reading scores for approximately 11,000 students who were enrolled in the 62 schools during the 2013–14 and 2014–15 school years. There are 62 schools included in the achievement analysis for mathematics and 61 included in achievement analysis for reading. All of these schools implemented personalized learning school-wide during at least the two academic years of 2013–14 and 2014–15.
Here are the key findings of the study:
- A majority of schools had improvement in student mathematics and reading performance over two years
- Growth continued to accumulate in a third year in schools that started implementing personalized learning by 2012.
- Scores grew substantially relative to national averages.
- A large proportion of students with lower starting achievement levels experienced greater growth rates than their peers, particularly in mathematics.
Overall, these findings suggest that the effects of personalized learning on student achievement are encouraging. The study used the following working definition for "personalized learning":
- Systems and approaches that accelerate and deepen student learning by tailoring instruction to each student’s individual needs, skills, and interests;
- A variety of rich learning experiences that collectively prepare students for success in the college and career of their choice; and
- Teachers’ integral role in student learning: designing and managing the learning environment, leading instruction, and providing students with expert guidance and support to help them take increasing ownership of their learning.
The concept of personalized learning has been around for some time, but the adoption of personalized learning approaches has increased significantly in recent years due in part to rapid advances in technology platforms and digital content. In the schools that participated in the study, technology seemed to be well integrated into instruction. Administrators reported that their schools used numerous digital curriculum programs and online resources. Student focus groups confirmed that technology was most often used for routine tasks and used less frequently for more complex engagement. All administrators reported that their students had access to devices such as laptops, tablets, or in some cases, desktops.
In order to create the most effective personalized learning environments, we should combine advanced teaching platform with smart interactive content. So you ask, " What's SMART interactive content, and why is it smart?" Well, it's interactive content that enhances classroom learning as well as personalized learning, and enables the teacher to closely monitor the student’s progress and performance. Smart content means content that moves the learner from passive to active, and enables educators to fully harness diagnostic power.
With smart content in place, the only other missing piece is an "advanced digital teaching platform." These are platforms that should allow for the following:
- Data-driven teaching
- Personalized learning
- Ability for each teacher to organize content in their own way
- Reinforcement of 21st century skills
With smart content and an advanced digital teaching platform, a typical class can provide for amazing personalized learning benefits for both the students and the educators. At Time To Know, we specialize in personalized learning. To learn more about our array of smart Ed-Tech solutions, contact us via our website.