Six Lessons for Scaling Personalized Learning Programs


Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 10:00am

Personalized blended and online learning programs have helped many districts provide access to more courses and improved student outcomes. But, how do you start a program and then scale it across your school and district?

Getting Smart, in partnership with FuelEd, tackled this question in their latest paper, How to Successfully Scale Personalized Learning: Six Key Lessons from Effective Programs. Specifically, the paper explores how schools and districts successfully scale online and blended programs so that a growing number of students have access to the potential of personalized learning.  The paper outlines six components that are critical to scaling a program:

1.      Simplifying the Teacher and Student Experience

In order to keep students on track and engaged they need a simplified and streamlined experience.  They need to access coursework easily from anywhere at anytime.  Through technology and online courses, students can use their time more efficiently and effectively.  Similarly teachers require a simplified experience where they can track student progress, determine the strengths and needs of a student, and based on assessments determine the best form of intervention.

2.      Customizing Courses and Content

If a school or district wants to offer a variety of course to many students, it is critical that administrators and instructors have the ability to customize content. This includes bringing in rich media such as videos into a lesson if a student requires an alternative method to understand the content.

3.      Partnering to Extend Access and Boost Outcomes

By leveraging highly effective partnerships, districts can quickly implement new tools and significant increase the number of course options to increase the effectiveness of delivering instruction as well as grow their course catalog.

4.      Investing in Leaders and Teachers

In order to effectively scale personalized learning programs, a district must have key stakeholders with visionary leadership at every level - from the classroom to the district office.  Additionally, districts must invest in their teachers by offering ongoing professional development to ensure program effectiveness.

5.      Taking a “Stairstep” Approach

Scaling doesn’t mean doing everything all at once. Districts can use a stairstep approach, which allows the addition of  a new program every semester or year.  Once there is a comfort level with the program, a new one can be added.

6.       Rewarding and Recognizing Success

Scaling blended and online learning will result in great rewards, but it won’t be simple. Districts need to recognize those administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and students who find success on a regular basis. And don’t forget to invite parents and community members to share in the victories.

Want to learn more?  Download the full white paper here.


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