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A Beginner’s Guide To Personalized Learning

by TeachThought Staff 

There is a difference between personalized learning and differentiation.

Differentiation is a kind of personalized instruction, where teachers adjust process, & product, according to a student’s readiness, interest, & learning style. Planning of the learning starts with the content, and the content remains the same for all students. This is a school and curriculum-centered approach that attempts to amend the delivery of the content to match the student’s needs, strengths, and general readiness.

Personalized learning starts with the learner and asks the question, “What does this student need to understand, and how best can that happen?” This is a student-centered approach, and is built around the idea of recognizing the vast differences in students–not just in terms of literacy or schema, but an authentic need to know.

In that context, consider the above graphic from Mia MacMeekin (who also gave us 27 Simple Ways To Check For Understanding). It frames the idea of personalized learning around the who/what/where/why/when series of questions, and then separates things again into three categories:

  1. What is personalized learning?
  2. How to personalize learning
  3. Examples of personalized learning

In this way, it represents an excellent beginner’s guide to personalized learning. The fact that it’s highly visual and limited to brief questions and examples makes it all the more readable, shareable, and fun. Give Mia’s site a visit, and let her know what you think!

A Beginner’s Guide To Personalized Learning 

*previously published at


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