Why personalized learning is essential

Every child is different, so why should learning be the same?

Until recently, classrooms looked the same as they did fifty years ago. Teachers would teach to rooms of 40 or more students, and students would memorize information in order to pass exams and move up a grade level. Some children who grasped the concept quickly had to slow their pace, while students who were struggling would have to adjust to a faster pace. Teaching was always delivered to the average. This scenario looked virtually the same around the world, and children kept falling behind their grade levels while others who learnt quickly became disengaged in classroom learning. The old ways of teaching were no longer adequate for today’s changing technological world, and thus was born the idea of personalized learning.

Personalized learning allows students to drive their own learning, shifting education from a teacher-centric model to one that revolves around the students. Students are able to learn at their own pace and utilize resources online to reinforce concepts and learn real-world applicability, while teachers facilitate learning and provide one-on-one intervention where needed.

Over the last 3 years, Zaya has been building a platform that will support a personalized, or blended, model for low income schools in India. The biggest challenges for these schools were the lack of broadband internet to allow such a tool to run smoothly, and the capacity of the teacher to adopt this model of instruction. The impact of such a model is felt even more as teachers are rarely qualified on subject matter, let alone pedagogy, leading to poor learning outcomes, particularly in government and low income schools. This provides a unique opportunity for a personalized learning solution that can work with these semi-skilled teachers to diagnose every child’s learning level and then create a personal plan for individual students or groups of students.

How does it work?

Each subject is broken down into different learning objectives which a student should master in order to move on to the next. Delivery of these objectives can vary based on the needs of the school and the students, allowing teachers to create individual learning playlists so that students can learn at their own pace. This level of personalization acknowledges that all students are on different levels and learn at different paces, and it provides teachers with the information they need to address each student individually.Curello

Each learning objective is a combination of instructional content, which can be in the form of an eBook or video, followed by adaptive practice questions where students get Hints and Help to understand the concept. These learning objectives are flexible, so each child can access the same objective but will see different resources which can be tailored to best suit the child’s level and needs. The immediate feedback provided in the practice allows the students to learn in real-time, thus assisting students to reach their goals on a daily basis.

This year’s implementation has shown us some interesting data points to validate the importance of personalized learning in schools. As seen in the images below, we mapped out the path taken by students when learning to concept “Find the Unknown- Subtraction”.

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