Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wondering what "personlized learning" means? Just look south to find out

More and more I have been thinking that the BC government / BCPSEA's vision of "personalized learning" comes from the US, not Britain, or anywhere else.

Today I came across this, from the US Department of Education. The last sentence is perhaps the most telling: "an opportunity to achieve greater efficiency and increase productivity". It is part of a stream of educational policy thought under the umbrella "educational productivity", which means getting higher test scores for less money.

Here is the whole description:

Competency-Based Learning or Personalized Learning

Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual enrollment and early college high schools, project-based and community-based learning, and credit recovery, among others. This type of learning leads to better student engagement because the content is relevant to each student and tailored to their unique needs. It also leads to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student.

By enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning systems help to save both time and money. Depending on the strategy pursued, competency-based systems also create multiple pathways to graduation, make better use of technology, support new staffing patterns that utilize teacher skills and interests differently, take advantage of learning opportunities outside of school hours and walls, and help identify opportunities to target interventions to meet the specific learning needs of students. Each of these presents an opportunity to achieve greater efficiency and increase productivity.

You can read more here: http://www.ed.gov/oii-news/competency-based-learning-or-personalized-learning

1 comment:

  1. You've quoted an impressive bit of edu-babble, Tara! :-)

    I like that little gem of "new staffing patterns", which sounds suspiciously like the topic of the recent BCPSEA meeting with the Minister of Education.

    I also find it interesting how this selection conflates learning at "their own pace" with learning that's "tailored to their unique needs". They're not necessarily incompatible, but I think a lot of students will end up getting learning at one's own pace without the individualized learning component. As you and I talked about earlier, this bait and switch starts with a lack of resources for personalized learning, and leads to canned and ever-more standardized course packages - a far cry from an education tailored to the unique needs of each individual child!

    Thanks for another interesting post, Tara.