As noted by the U.S. Department of Education, online learning environments provide students and teachers with a unique opportunity to experience individualized learning and differentiated instruction.
What is individualized learning?
Individualized learning is a method of instruction in which the content and pace of learning are adapted to the individual needs of each learner. In contrast to conventional classroom instruction, this learning method places students at the center of their learning and ensures that each students’ learning demands are individually addressed.
How do you create individualized learning pathways?
Under traditional assessment and reporting methods, teachers may perceive the creation of individualized learning pathways to be stressful, costly and incredibly time-consuming. However, fortunately, online learning environments are easing this process through using adaptive technologies to support the customization of student learning. How?
- Modularized online content. Through organizing learning materials into modular units, students are automatically paced through their learning experience – only progressing once true understanding is achieved.
- Immediate formative feedback. With immediate feedback loops established in online environments, student learning is tailored according to student understanding and achievement – automatically creating individual learning pathways.
What is differentiated instruction?
“Assessment is today’s means of understanding how to modify tomorrow’s instruction.” ~ Carol Tomlinson
Differentiated instruction is founded on the philosophy that no two students learn in the same way – and therefore, cannot be taught the same way. Differentiated instruction embraces the unique needs of students, taking into account individual readiness, preferences and interests.
Assessment plays an important role in differentiated instruction, providing useful measures of student progress and thereby helping to guide future instruction. Under this methodology, the assessment and evaluation of personal growth is favoured over the comparative evaluation of students against peers. Ultimately, differentiated instruction seeks to target the individual needs of students.
How do educational technologies assist in differentiation?
Online learning environments host an abundance of formative assessment and reporting mechanisms which enable teachers to actively foster differentiated instruction. How?
- Formative assessment mechanisms. Through continual assessment, teachers are provided with unparalleled insights into individual and group strengths, weaknesses and areas of interest.
- Data-driven reporting. Through extensive real-time reporting capabilities, teacher are able to easily interpret data to identify how to best use their time and which instructional strategies are best suited to individual student needs.
The rise in educational technologies and the associated benefits of individualized learning and differentiated instruction mark a genuinely exciting time in education. Our online math resource, Mathletics, has been developed to provide teachers and students with an avenue to experience these educational benefits. The outcomes are revolutionary. See for yourself – trial Mathletics today.