Monday, December 1, 2014

Update for Leaders: Personalized vs. Facilitated Learning

One distinction we have been pushing at AEA PD Online is between "personalized" and "facilitated" learning.  These two terms fit into the broader spectrum of what we do, and act as good descriptors to distinguish between the two types of learning.

Let's start with facilitated learning.  This is often synonymous with "traditional" learning, although there can be a subtle difference.  We tend to think of traditional learning as very lecture-based (whether face-to-face or online) as opposed to more project-based or inquiry-based learning.  However, this is less about the pedagogy being used with the classroom and more about the structure for classes in general.  In both the inquiry-based classroom and the lecture-based one, there is still a teacher acting as an active facilitator.

It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with facilitated learning.  In fact, it is both a model of efficacy and efficiency, as structuring a school into classes of 20-25 students with a teacher has had a long tradition.  In a large portion of what we do in schools, facilitated learning is still the most important, and this is true for an online program such as AEA PD Online.

The thing is, it doesn't meet all student needs.  There are times where students need a more flexible learning option.

It is a bit like being at the beach and trying to fill up a jar.  Grabbing a handful of stones is a quick way of filling the jar, but they don't fill all the gaps.  While trying to ladle out water with your hands is a bit more time consuming, the fluidity of the water fills all those gaps.

That is what personalized learning is like.  Ideally, personalized learning opportunities are like water, being fluid, ubiquitous, and ever present.  You want those opportunities to be always available, whether you have a new student coming in, a student who needs acceleration or remediation, a student who needs credit recovery, or a student that needs learning around a personal interest area.

Here's a quick distinction between those two terms:

Facilitated Personalized
  • "Class" centered
  • Instructor presence
  • Structured, set timeframe and pacing
  • Collaboration with students
  • Set curriculum = driver
  • Teacher-driven assessment
  • Transactional Learning
  • Holistic (Set Outcomes)
  • “Individual” centered, choice/autonomy
  • Often not an instructor presence (serves more as mentor/advisor)
  • Independent pacing
  • Authentic performances & portfolio
  • Data & Student Choices = curriculum driver
  • Student driven assessment
  • Application/Creation Learning 
  • Modular

Having an understanding of this difference helps you couch terms like "Standards-based grading", "credit-recovery", "competency-based learning", and "career pathways" into the learning type, which helps you structure that learning.

If you are interested in knowing more about how to implement personalized learning within your school contact us.

No comments:

Post a Comment