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Educator MOOC Adds Micro-Credentials on Personalized Learning

The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, which conducts research and delivers professional development out of its operations at North Carolina State University, has recently connected its MOOC platform for educators to the Learner Positioning System developed by Digital Promise Global. The institute's MOOC-Ed provides massive, open, online courses specifically for educators. The system from Digital Promise is an online resource that lets educators look up current research on aspects of personalized learning.

The connection is specifically tied to the "Learning Differences" MOOC-Ed offered by the institute. That runs for six weeks, is free and accounts for between 25 and 30 certificate hours. Participants can pursue a "micro-credential stack" within the program that covers learner diversity and student learning differences. There are 10 modules or micro-credentials within that collection, covering such topics as attention, auditory processing, emotional intelligence, self-regulation and social awareness.

Each micro-credential starts with an overview of a construct or idea in personalized learning supported by research to help educators gain a deeper understanding of its importance in the learning process. Educators are then asked to identify a student's strengths and challenges, and create and implement a plan that supports the student in meeting his or her goals for learning. In the classroom, the teacher records the strategy and how it works out, and then submits that evidence as part of earning the micro-credential.

"In our experience, educators have found it extremely empowering to have the language and knowledge not only to define the specific needs of their students, but strategize on how best to meet them," explained Lauren Acree, a Friday Institute lead on policy and personalized learning, in a blog article about the initiative. "They no longer find themselves grouping their students into broad categories or 'learning zones,' but recognize their students as individual learners with unique strengths all their own--and any educator will tell you it's in leveraging these strengths where transformative learning actually happens."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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