A LOOK TO THE FUTURE:
Personalized Learning in Connecticut
This introduction indicates the purpose of the White Paper on Personalized Learning, explains the rationale for the Paper, makes clear that the Paper does not call for another educational mandate and explains why the discussion of personalized learning needs to be put in the conceptual context of student-centered learning.
The purpose of this report is to specify the steps that have to be taken in order to enable school districts to transform public education in Connecticut into a system that fosters personalized learning. The CAPSS NextEd Report calls for exactly this transformation so public education can meet the expectation that every child in Connecticut will learn what he or she needs to know and be able to do in order to advance to the next step in the process of leading decent and productive lives.
It is very important to understand the rationale for this report. It has two goals:
- To identify the barriers to personalized learning inherent in current public policy and to suggest how they can be removed.
- To identify incentives that can encourage districts to implement personalized learning.
NOTHING IN THIS PAPER SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS AN ARGUMENT TO MAKE PERSONALIZED LEARNING A MANDATE. Personalized learning will not happen unless districts are allowed and encouraged to find creative ways to personalize the instruction and learning process. Making personalized learning a mandate, therefore, would be a mistake.
Personalized learning is a phrase that is often misused in an attempt to sell products. This was not the case when the group that developed the Paper started its work. Special attention, then, should be paid to the definition of personalized learning in the Paper. It aligns well with the definitions of student-centered learning that can be found in either of these documents: Key Terms - Working Definitions from the Student Centered Framework and Putting Students at the Center: A Reference Guide.
These definitions lead to the conclusion that personalized learning is a conceptual subset of student-centered learning. As the recommendations in the Paper are considered, then, they should be regarded as ones that will remove the barriers to and create incentives for the transformation of education in Connecticut to a student- centered approach.