- Putting a personalized learning program in place is easier said than done, with a recent RAND Corporation study of 40 K-12 schools finding teachers strained on time to develop lessons and balance priorities, a lack of high-quality instructional materials, and a need for more support, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Additionally, educators in the study felt that students worked much slower when allowed to go at their own pace, presenting yet another hurdle.
- Still, personalized learning has shown promise with students experiencing small gains in math and reading scores under the approach, and educators have gained better insight into students' preparedness via the increased one-on-one learning opportunities, leaving many of the hurdles as a matter of addressing implementation at scale.
More active learning models that increase personalization and hands-on experience with projects relevant to the real-world have shown promise in raising achievement in recent years, but administrators must also be cognizant of the additional demands these models can place on educators.
At the higher ed level, Bay Path University Associate Professor of Biology Thomas Mennella has written of his experiences with active learning via a flipped classroom model, noting that with the benefits comes an increased risk of instructor burnout. Specifically, he found a significant increase in the amount of assignments he had to grade and the number of hours spent interacting with students.
To alleviate this, administrators may need to consider the need for additional funding to compensate teachers accordingly or to hire assistants to alleviate some of the burden — especially if class sizes skew on the larger end. The value for students is there, but finding the right balance to meet educators' needs and ensure success in implementation is key.