About Personalized Learning

  • Working Definition of PL

    Knox County Schools Definition of Personalized Learning

    Personalized learning is tailoring learning for each student's strengths, needs, and interests - including student agency: voice and choice, pacing, and the ability to self-evaluate towards mastery. This ownership in what, how, when, and where they learn - provides flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible.

    What does personalization look like?  

    Focuses on learner-driven and student-centered practices

    • An education full of variety and choice
    • An opportunity for students to make decisions about the direction of their learning; for example, they can pick the topic they are going to research for an assignment, the book for their book chats, and how they want to write the procedures for their lab work
    • A dynamic learning opportunity providing students with content that addresses their personal needs based on their interests, parental input, and teacher observation as well as assessment data
    • Students managing their own work calendars and daily schedules to stay on track, so they are free to move through courses at their own pace and have individualized learning paths and intervention plans

    Uses multiple and innovative instructional strategies and measures of learning

    • Students have access to a wide range of subjects that meet their pathway needs and interests
    • Various starting points within content, varied amounts of guided practice and independent practice as needed
    • Students participating in authentic learning experiences and/or projects with local, regional, or world audiences

    Offers flexibility in pace and place

    • Students access learning experiences that enable them to progress according to their level of ability
    • Supports for students to be successful at managing their learning path
    • Teachers create opportunities for students to learn outside of the traditional classroom and school day

    Incorporates collaboration (student-to-teacher and peer-to-peer)

    • Students interacting and collaborating with each other and the content
    • Teachers interacting with the content, with students, and with other teachers
    • A relationship between teacher and the student, as well as a strong sense of community within the class as a whole
    • Involves the school community including multiple layers of support from all stakeholders

    Leverages Technology to improve the efficiency of the learning cycle

    • Students using technology to individualize their learning and improve communication within the school community
    • Teachers empowered use technology as a tool to expand access to resources for student learning
    • Students creating products that can communicate what they know
    • Students sharing their thinking and/or products to elicit feedback from peers, teachers, parents, and/or the world

    Headings in Bold are State of Tennessee Personalized Learning Initiative Themes


    Powell, Allison, Kathryn Kennedy, and Susan Patrick. "Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education." Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education. INACOL, Oct. 2013. Web. 26 July 2016. http://www.inacol.org/resource/mean-what-you-say-defining-and-integrating-personalized-blended-and-competency-education/

    Personalized Learning Task Force Report. Rep. Tennessee Department of Education, Nov. 2016. TN Personalized Learning Task Force Report 2016