PL_Personalized Learning Definition

Personalized Learning Defined

As the personalized learning movement is growing, the knowledge base supporting it continues to expand and become more refined. However, there is no single common definition of personalized learning used across the field. 

Instead, the definition varies across districts, states, and organizations who are involved in the implementation of personalized learning. To ground this work and focus our efforts, NCLD chose this definition of personalized learning:

Students’ learning experiences – what they learn, and how, when, and where they learn it – are tailored to their individual needs, skills, and interests, and enable them to take ownership of their learning. Although where, when, and how they learn might vary according to their needs, students also develop deep connections to each other, their teachers and other adults.
[Students at the Center Overview: Engaging All students in College, Career, and Civic Success (Boston, MA: Jobs for the Future, 2013)]

In addition, we asked our consulting experts to reflect on four specific approaches to personalized learning described by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: learner profiles; personal learning paths; competency-based progressions; and flexible learning environments (see glossary, page 33). When we refer to personalized learning generally, any of these approaches can be utilized to fit the type of personalized learning a school or district is implementing. Where any of these approaches have unique implications, we specifically address that approach and use the corresponding terminology.