My personalized learning

My personal journey into the ‘MOOC’osphere and personalized learning happened in two ways at once. I’m participating in a free, online course offered through ISTE and also participating in an online book club where we are reading and discussing Personalized learning: A guide to engaging students with technology by Peggy Grant & Dale Basye.

The online MOOC is delivered through the Canvas learning management system. I’ve experienced and worked with Moodle, Blackboard and Desire to Learn (D2L) but had not explored Canvas before signing up for this course. The participants truly are from all over the globe. Amazing to see the range of job descriptions and purposes for learning about personalized learning.

image of book coverFor week two, our inquiry takes us into defining the terms that are connected to personalized learning – individualized and differentiated. Knowing how they can morph and by used as synonymous to personalized learning can lead to clarity for the concept being explored.  According to the author, Dale Basye, personalization includes ‘the whole enchilada’. It refers to preferences, interests, paced instruction, academic goals, method, pace, curriculum and content. However, the difference lies in the role students play in the process. “Personalized learning involved the student in the creation of the learning activities” (Basye). Not only does the teacher respond to student interests and needs, students are actively involved in managing their own learning – taking control and ownership. They are active participants in the process. Teachers become activators and facilitators of the learning. Technology plays a critical role in providing purposeful, meaningful and engaging personalized learning. Teaching and learning, with the power of technology, becomes the “ultimate collaboration between teacher and learner” (Basye).

concept map

Concepts of Personalization

In order to get a better understanding, I turn to concept mapping to help visualize the connections. This concept map is created in a free, web based mapping tool called Text2Mindmap. The link is found here:

Questions around my own personalized teaching and learning will be explored throughout this inquiry. My philosophy of education and personal pedagogical practices align well with the notion of personalized learning. With the work I did within the Masters of Educational Technology program at the University of British Columbia, my own learning was very much personalized. I chose my own path and work schedule. I chose the topics and explorations that worked best for me. The tasks allowed me to make decisions and apply my learning energy to dynamic learning opportunities. There were multiple layers of support that resulted in energizing relationships with instructors and classmates. My personal experiences were a model for me in how personalized learning feels.

Now I apply these same techniques and strategies to my own work with my students, with some success. Systemic and organizational barriers will impede the progress towards true personalization, but elements of choice and voice will continue to be my mode of co-teaching and co-learning. Throughout this course, I will continue to explore further to see where changes can result – as Ken Robinson states, in an organic and non-linear fashion.


Basye, D. (Aug. 2014). Personalized vs. differentiated vs. individualized learning. Retrieved from

Patrick, S., Kennedy, K. & Powell, A. (Oct. 2013). Mean what you say: Defining and integrating personalized, blended and competency education. iNACOL. Retrieved from

Robinson, K. (Feb. 2010). Bring on the learning revolution. Retrieved from

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