Power of Personalized Learning: Engage learners with voice and choice

By: Leigh Ann Pernell


Classrooms are filled with diverse learners, unique learning styles, and a myriad of academic needs. Best practice dictates that we move from the cookie cutter approach of one-size-fits-all education to embracing the power of personalized learning. As learners, we each have strengths and areas of needed growth, so it makes sense to tailor learning to meet the individual needs of the learner for the most effective outcome.

Giving Voice and Choice

Many struggle with how to begin the quest for personalized learning, but standards and students’ interests can be met. Offering open-ended activities that allow learners to show what they know increases engagement and gives us a glimpse at what

motivates them to succeed. Here is a quick example of how to give students a choice while still meeting specific goals and standards.

The Goal: Describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.” An assessment might be to:

  • Have students choose a book to read from a class list of appropriate titles.
  • Challenge students to create a character analysis of their favorite character.
  • Provide a rubric that spells out the expectations of what should be in the analysis.
  • Allow students to share their information through a written report, sculpture of the character, painting, sketch, song, comic strip, poem, or dramatic interpretation.
  • Share their findings with the class and critique together.

The Goal: “Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.”

  • Give students a math word problem to solve.
  • Encourage students to solve the problem using pictures, words, manipulatives, or numbers to demonstrate the process.
  • Discuss the different strategies that were used for reaching the answer.

Differentiate Instruction and Build Understanding

Visual learners need demonstration, auditory learners crave discussion, kinesthetic learners need to move, and tactile learners might take notes. Differentiating instruction is the key to meeting the needs of each student. Weaving young learners’ interests into instruction will help them make real-world connections that build deeper meaning. For students to be college and career ready, we need to create learning communities that do not pigeonhole potential, but foster the individual growth that will inspire lifelong learning.

Carson-Dellosa Has the Resources to Meet Individual Needs

We have a variety of resources to meet the individual needs of growing learners! Visit our website to find an abundance of materials. Here is a quick snapshot:

  • Interactive Notebooks are filled with templates that allow students to organize information, build meaning, and show what they know. These hands-on resources engage and encourage students to personalize activities and build deeper meaning. The greater the engagement, the greater the understanding.
  • Classroom Data Tracking Resource Books offer a time-saving way to follow and reflect on individual student progress. These easy to manage resource books will guide goal setting and allow for customized learning to better meet students’ needs.

Personalized learning starts by determining the needs and interests of each student and then customizing instruction to inspire meaningful learning. Engagement increases and students become more independent workers when they have a choice in how to show what they know. Personalizing learning is a great step forward on the road of lifelong learning.