Adaptive Learning

Survey: Students Say Personalized Learning Improves Their Independent Learning Skills

A new survey of 4,000 middle school students indicates that personalized learning approaches can have a positive impact on students as independent learners.

The study was conducted by New Classrooms, a non-profit organization that provides a model and curriculum for personalized learning in math. Called Teach to One: Math, the model involves a range of techniques, from classroom design to mini low-stakes assessments, but at its heart is providing individualized pathways for each learner to progress in mastery and develop as motivated thinkers and collaborators.

The survey polled more than 4,000 students engaged in the Teach to One: Math model in the spring of 2016. (It's currently in use in 40 schools around the country by roughly 13,000 students.) It found that those who had participated in personalized learning believed they had improved as independent learners (70 percent) and reported "learning equally well when working independently on a computer with guided support (75 percent) or in a more traditional classroom setting with teacher-led instruction only (77 percent)," according to New Classrooms.

The survey also found that eight in 10 students benefit from solving the same problems multiple times; six in 10 said they benefit from learning multiple approaches to solving problems; and nearly seven in 10 "reported benefiting from the opportunity to work with different students and teachers over the course of the year, highlighting the need for offering a variety of opportunities in which to learn," the organization noted.

"As more schools focus on personalizing learning, it is important to consider how a personalized learning environment changes the classroom experience for students," said New Classrooms CEO Joel Rose in a statement released to coincide with the report. "Students report appreciating the fact that they can learn the same skill in different ways -- from a teacher, from their peers, or independently. They also report valuing the relationships they have with their teachers. Understanding the student perspective helps us create personalized experiences that will better support learning."

Additional details can be found at newclassrooms.org.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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