Not all students succeed in a one-size-fits-all classroom. Children have different experiences, strengths, challenges and backgrounds that educators need to be able to recognize when they’re creating learning activities, content and spaces. Personalized learning is a teaching practice that takes these aspects into consideration. It helps teachers support students in the ways that best meet their needs by setting up different pathways for students to experience learning. A key component in developing personalized learning is using technology such as a learning management system (LMS) that puts teachers in the driver’s seat and helps them individualize teaching.
In this blog, we look at four ways to personalize learning for student growth with D2L Brightspace™.
1. Create Unique Learning Experiences
Personalized learning customizes activities and delivery methods to students’ individual knowledge and interests so each can be given what they need to succeed. With Brightspace, for example, teachers can use Release Conditions to help provide additional support for students who may be struggling with a concept or to automatically surface enrichment opportunities for high performers.
Brightspace can also help individualize the learning journey with merit-based awards, badges and certifications that students unlock as they progress through learning materials. An educator might create a badge that’s based on perfect attendance or posting a certain number of discussion posts in the first month of a course. If the requirements aren’t met, teachers can also use Brightspace to send automated reminders that provide a helpful nudge to keep students on track.
2. Provide Individualized Support
To create a personalized learning environment, teaching practices need to meet the behavioral, cognitive and emotional needs of all learners.
On a basic level, this means using tools such as an LMS that is compatible with assistive technologies, supports web accessibility standards and is easy for students to navigate and understand. Built into Brightspace is the Accessibility Checker, a feature that’s designed to help catch common accessibility issues on static HTML content and offer suggestions to help fix them on the spot. For students needing additional support, teachers can provide Special Access to allow extended deadlines for assignments, surveys or quizzes.
3. Personalize Feedback
Feedback is a central component in a personalized learning environment but giving individualized feedback on every action students take often isn’t feasible. Brightspace helps educators scale and provide immediate feedback to one or more students by:
- sharing individualized feedback on student submissions with rubrics, text, videos, audio or attachments
- annotating document submissions inside of a course without having to download anything
- connecting seamlessly with students for live discussions, office hours or classes with integrated video tools if further discussion is required
It’s important to remember that giving students feedback in a personalized classroom is more than telling them “job well done.” Rather, it’s an ongoing process of assessment, communication and adjustment to support students on their academic journey.
4. Support Action Through Metrics
While there are many ways personalized learning can be implemented in a classroom, it can’t be done without the use of metrics. A robust LMS should provide educators with insights into class progress so they can effectively track learners’ overall growth, completion of learning objectives, engagement with content and more.
For example, with Brightspace’s Mastery View educators can scan the overall level of comprehension of a learning outcome across all students. This can help them identify those students who are struggling or potentially at risk and intervene to give them the support that can help them succeed.
But it’s not enough to provide only educators with key metrics. Students also need to be able to see how they’re progressing in a course so that they can understand where they are now and what they need to do to achieve their goals. With Brightspace’s Class Progress tool, students can view their grades for a specific assignment or quiz along with their file submissions and feedback.
Every student learns in their own way and has certain needs, interests and challenges. Personalized learning as a teaching practice recognizes these differences and works to set students up for success. The four steps outlined above cover the fundamentals of personalized learning and help educators design educational experiences with student needs in mind.
From Student Recovery to Reimagining Schools
As we work to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, our K12 education system is left with two critical questions: How do we support our students in addressing their immediate learning recovery? And what new opportunities do we have to reimagine how education will look in the future?
Download this guide to discover how, despite these hurdles, new experiences have fostered interest in new approaches. This guide explains that there is now a unique opportunity to reimagine the way we support student success through more flexible and engaging curriculum and instruction.
Paige O’Grady is a Product Marketing Manager at D2L, specializing in the education space. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, specializing in Marketing and Brand Communications.
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