When we first wrote about the district conditions for scaling personalized learning in 2014, we focused heavily on the 10 conditions needed to scale personalized learning across a district. As we conducted the interviews for the research prior to publishing the paper, the meta themes; vision, culture, and transparency; just sort of emerged. Honestly, they were an afterthought. As we’ve continued this line of research and talked to practitioners and policymakers over the last two years, those themes have persisted and we’ve come to see them not as secondary, but as central to the implementation of personalized learning.
As defined in the initial district conditions paper:
The vision should be shared with all members of a learning community and give each member a sense of their role within the community.
The culture of a district should allow for innovation and continuous improvement by giving leaders, teachers, and students the room to take risks and learn from failure.
Transparency allows members of the learning community to be informed about what’s happening and play an active role in creating the desired culture.
You’ll notice in the graphic below that the meta themes are at the center of the district conditions. That is because without a clear vision, a culture of innovation, and the transparency to allow innovation to become part of that culture, nothing else matters. In discussions with district and school leaders and teachers all over the country, time and again they point to the meta themes as the key to their success. Simply put, if you don’t get the meta themes right, you’re not going to get personalized learning right.
Don’t want to take my word for it? Attend our webinar on October 11, 2016 to hear practitioners talk about their experiences implementing personalized learning in their districts and the importance of vision, culture, and transparency.