Personalization of Adult Learning in Technology Training

ISTE Coaching Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation

How do you get adults to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their online instruction?

My interest in this question stems from the fact that I want adults to take more interest in the process of their learning.  Specifically speaking getting in on personalized professional learning, and in that taking part in the planning and evaluation.  This is what educators are taught how to do so why not test it within their own learning.  From personal experience from starting the pro-cert process, the assessments and hoop jumping felt insulting when you are in a room full of professional educators.

Uncovering ISTE Coaching Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation b. Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.

Malcolm Knowles, a leading educator studying adult learning, made five assumptions of adult learners (Knowles 1984:12).

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In Chapter 1 of Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report – Professional Learning Requires Engaged Leadership it supports the ideas expressed by Knowles in 1984; the results of the study support the principles of adult learning, indicating that adults value course designs containing options, personalization, self‐direction, variety, and a learning community. Findings also identify some differences in learning emphasis by gender, preferred learning strategies, and previous experience with technology and self‐directed learning” (Pg. 16).  

When looking at personalization for our students I found this article by Katrina Stevens Deputy Director in the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education is really a compilation of what several organizations have put together on the topic of personalized learning. Basically, Personalizing the Learning Experience: Insights from Future Ready Schools specifically how “each learner’s performance is measured. The type of learning experience determines the types of data that can be collected. For example, as learners participate in a small-group activity, the teacher might ask them targeted, open-ended, probing questions that will help in upcoming tailoring components of the lesson. When technology is used, performance can be measured continuously in real time.”

Why Personalize?

What can sometimes get lost in the focus on a consistent definition and process is the potential power and benefits of personalized learning, which are many:

  • When the pace of learning is adjusted for each learner, all learners have the time needed to demonstrate mastery.
  • When learning is optimized and tailored for each learner, and driven by learner interests, it can be more meaningful and relevant, which can lead to greater engagement and achievement.
  • When learners are given more choice, they tend to take more ownership of their learning and develop the academic mindsets, learning strategies, and self-regulated learning behaviors that are necessary for meeting immediate goals and for lifelong learning.
  • When learning is supported by technology, learners can receive more frequent and immediate feedback through formative assessments, quizzes, and checks for understanding with results provided to teachers and learners in real time.
  • With the right tools, learning gaps that impede progress can be identified more quickly, allowing learners to close those gaps.
  • The use of technology to provide teachers with the ability to tailor instruction to individuals allows teachers more time to provide targeted attention to learners who are struggling or who are progressing more rapidly than their peers, rather than being forced to “teach to the middle.”
  • When teachers can use technology to identify or modify existing resources more easily, teachers can then build stronger and deeper relationships with each learner and provide more resources for dealing with specific challenges. This can promote a greater sense of belonging among students by demonstrating that there are adults who care that they thrive.

Similarly, ThinkCerca’s blog writer Kelli Marshall wrote recently on Personalized learning and specifically  Why is Personalized Learning Important – “in which instructional environments are tailored to the individual needs, skills, and interests of each student – somewhat inverts the traditional teacher/student hierarchy. It gives students choices about how to learn based on their interests, abilities, and teacher recommendations” (2018).   I think when teachers/educators are given the opportunity to “tailor” their learning to what they like and know.

Finally, “When applied correctly, personalized learning can move mountains for students. It means that assignments and instruction are tailored to individual students’ interests, needs, and skills. It allows the teacher to bring in more robust, useful, and varied material into the classroom. It opens up probabilities for strategic groupings to allow students to learn better from one another” (ThinkCerca, 2018).

 

 

Resources: 

Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA.

ISTE Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards

Marshall, K. (2018, January 18). Why Personalized Learning Is Important. Retrieved February 04, 2018, from http://blog.thinkcerca.com/the-importance-of-personalized-learning

Pappas, C. (2013, May 9). The Adult learning theory – andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles

Stevens, K. (2017, January 18). What is Personalized Learning? – Personalizing the Learning Experience: Insights from Future Ready Schools – Medium (Office of Ed Tech, Ed.). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from https://medium.com/personalizing-the-learning-experience-insights/what-is-personalized-learning-bc874799b6f

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