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Focusing on individual learning needs improves learning outcomes

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What is individual learning?
Individualized learning is closely related to differentiated instruction. While differentiated instruction focuses on flexible grouping of children, individualized instruction focuses more on the needs of individual children. Good classrooms balanced both differentiated methods and individualized learning to create an engaging and stimulating learning environment.

Why is individualized instruction important?
Meeting the varied needs of children can be a daunting task for educators. It most definitely takes more planning and assessment of student progress, but the benefits far outweigh the cons. Individualized instruction prepares children to become active and effective learners developing the skills needed to be life-long learners in an ever evolving world. With the varied aptitude levels of children, individualized instruction helps use the differences of children to increase moral, retain information, and enhance children’s engagements in their learning.

How do we begin?
There are essentially five important steps to creating a successful individualized learning classroom. These are:
1. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely goals
2. Goals should be challenging
3. Goals are dynamic and reviewed regularly
4. Students own their progress
5. Parents are involved

What are some methods to individualize learning?
Teachers plan carefully and collaboratively to ensure they are using meaningful data to gain insights on how individual children are progressing toward a goal. We shift away from lengthy whole-group lessons to more play-based centers and inquiry-based projects. The centers and projects complimented by strategic use of current technological resources allow teachers to design engaging lessons that tap into the natural curiosity of each child.

Teachers provide opportunities for children to approach their learning in a variety of ways which provides more opportunities to retain information which improves moral and excitement for learning.

What are the benefits of individual learning?
Individualized learning essentially allows students to learn at their own pace with teacher direction. They are still working towards rigorous and challenging learning outcomes, but they are provided a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning.