Scaling Personalized Learning: One Size Does Not Fit All Districts


Scaling personalized learning is hard work, but work worth doing to ensure every student graduates with the knowledge and skills they need. Scaling personalized learning is hard work, but work worth doing to create an environment that ensures every student graduates with the knowledge and skills they need for what’s next. A recent study from American Institutes for Research (AIR) suggests that not only is systemic implementation of personalized learning difficult to scale in a district, it’s also hard within a single school. The findings report a wide-range of personalized practices that in some instances vary greater in implementation from classroom to classroom than school to school.

Personalized growth to grow personalized learning

At KnowledgeWorks, just as we believe individual students deserve unique supports, we believe that there is no one size fits all approach to implementing personalized learning across a district. And we know that those personalized practices that are happening from classroom to classroom that are already showing great promise should be recognized and spread to impact more students.

When KnowledgeWorks partners with a district to help implement personalized, competency-based learning, we recommend the following approach to essentially apply the same concepts educators would use with their students to help grow personalized teaching and learning practices district-wide:

  • Use quantitative and qualitative data to understand local progress toward the vision for teaching and learning and including perspectives of all local stakeholders.
  • Develop a competency-based professional development plan that focuses on goals for growth, not work educators and district leaders are already doing well.
  • Take a systemic approach to action planning by identifying opportunities for creating vision alignment and a supportive, transparent culture that connects across ten core areas: Curriculum, instruction, assessments, student supports, learning environments, community partnerships, technology policies, data systems and educator and leadership development.

During my session at iNACOL’s 2017 symposium, “District Readiness: An Evaluative Approach to Scaling Personalized Learning”, I’ll be presenting alongside KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of School Development Jesse Moyer about why an evaluative-based approach to personalized learning will help districts create a viable action plan to scaling the personalized learning to impact every student in a district.

We will also give attendees the opportunity to begin thinking about their district’s vision, culture and transparency by answering four quick questions.