The implementation of personalized learning has positively impacted the students, staff, and overall school climate. The courses were designed with state and district standards explicitly in mind, and the tasks focus on the mastery of those standards. By designing the courses this way, Gwinnett Online Campus has instruction that is more aligned with mastery learning rather than merely putting students through content that they may already know or need to look at more closely.
Personalized learning has provided students with flexibility in pacing as they work through the course. It also offers additional content for students without teachers having to go hunt down extra resources on the spot. While the courses require a great deal of time on the front end to develop and set up, they provide the teacher with the ability to focus specifically on students who need additional support. Gwinnett Online Campus is currently in the third year of Personalized Learning implementation and continues to see exponential growth and gains.
During the first year, five courses were developed, along with the initial framework. Currently, in Gwinnett Online Campus’ third year of offering Personalized Learning, there are 19 live courses. Additionally, the Personalized Learning courses have rapidly been expanding into various instructional settings beyond the full-time environment. Specifically, Personalized Learning courses are now being offered to supplemental students, at-risk students, special education students, and summer school students.
Data regarding these opportunities reveals that students who participate in reteaching demonstrate, on average, a 20-point gain in mastery. Another positive data point from the Personalized Learning initiative is the course pass rate. The fall 2020 pass rate across all full courses delivering Personalized Learning courses was 90.8%; this pass rate is encouraging as we continue to expand this initiative into other courses across all curriculum areas and grade levels.
One Gwinnett Online Campus student shares, “I love the fact that I am in complete control of my learning. In my other classes, I am often bored and finish my work really quickly. With my GOC math class, I feel like I’m challenged and have work that keeps me challenged without frustrating me. Sometimes I need extra help and sometimes I get to skip ahead, but I like that it’s different every day.”
Pathways for Individual Students
Some of the most powerful gains from the Personalized Learning courses come in the form of individualized learning outcomes. When considering the number of individual pathways within any given Personalized Learning course, there is 100% differentiation. All students either receive a totally differentiated pathway or a uniquely shared pathway; not a single Personalized Learning course, however, has all students moving through the same instructional experiences. In addition to the extensive differentiation present in the Personalized Learning courses, students are also provided an opportunity to participate in relearning opportunities in full support of mastery learning.
Another Gwinnett Online Campus student shares, “I have anxiety, so being in a personalized learning course was very good for me because the pace is consistent. Additionally, I’m neurodivergent and it can be very hard for me to tie myself to a course structure and certain assignment types, so it helps me a whole lot being able to decide what I do and how I present what I’ve learned.”