Teachers have long known that students learn differently, and learn more or less, depending on various instructional approaches. They have used this understanding to personalize learning as much as is possible in classrooms with 20, 25, or more students. However, these educators have largely been on their own, without many structured supports—curriculum, pedagogy, tools, and resources specifically designed to support personalization
strategies. The growing diversity within today’s classrooms underscores the necessity for a more deliberate, supported shift to a learner-centered education system.

Personalized learning—learning that is connected to each individual’s development, background, interests, and experiences—provides an approach that broadly and equitably supports educators’ efforts to empower learners as individuals. Personalized learning offers a path to effectively support the growing diversity of the population
of students by understanding how individual learners learn best and actively engage, motivate, and inspire them with the right resources at the right time, in the right medium, and at the right pace.

Technological innovations over the past decade now make meaningful personalization possible, but we can only personalize based on what we know about the learner. Current models that drive personalization remain overly simplistic and are rarely based on research. These over-simplified models risk driving personalization in a way that leaves diverse learners behind.

Without changes, the social and economic disparities and achievement gaps of people who historically are underserved will persist and grow, and we will be at risk of marginalizing more and more students.

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Making Learning Personal for All: The Growing Diversity in Today's Classroom