5 Key Elements Of Personalised Learning

May 20,2024

5 Key Elements Of Personalised Learning

In GEMS Education schools, we align our curricula and teaching methods with the principles and goals of personalised learning. Personalised learning is a method of teaching that makes the best use of students’ strengths, interests and experiences to empower them as learners.

If you and your child are yet to experience the benefits of a school curriculum enriched by personalised learning, this guide will explain all. Here, we lead you through the key principles of personalised learning that guide our teaching, the research and philosophies behind the method, and the elements you’ll see day-to-day in a personalised learning environment.


What Is Personalised Learning?

Personalised learning is a framework that provides the guiding principles for a way of learning. It is not a prescriptive curriculum or set of standards. Instead, it’s a teaching and learning methodology inspired by the research of influential psychologists and educationalists like Piaget and Vygotsky. Personalised learning can be used to teach all major curriculums and is often used by British Curriculum and IB curriculum schools in Dubai

Personalised learning is student-focused, and specifically designed to meet the unique needs of each and every learner. It will therefore provide an individualised learning experience for your child that is likely to differ from that of their peers, even when they share the same teacher and classroom. 

In line with the student-centred principle, in GEMS Education schools, we curate our students’ personal learning pathway with their input and by using their interests, skills and abilities, plus their learning preferences, challenges and needs. Personalised learning is typically project-based so that pupils have time and space to work at their own pace. Pupils may work by themselves or in small groups. 

What Are the Five Key Elements of Personalised Learning? 

This is what a personalised learning curriculum and environment is likely to look like.

1. Students take ownership of their learning

Within a personalised learning environment, teachers encourage students to take more responsibility for their learning. In practice, this means that students have the opportunity to set their own goals, create their own projects and define their roles within groups, all in collaboration with their teacher

This method of teaching provides pupils with choices within broader topic or subject areas. Students are not told exactly what to learn, which resources to use, or how to prove they have learned the skill or information. Instead, with the guidance of their teacher, the student chooses what to learn, how to learn it, and how they will show it. 

Personalised learning shifts the role of the student from consumer to collaborator, leading to improved educational experiences and outcomes (University of Queensland, 2015). The method encourages active participation, greater motivation and interest, and allows the student to learn at their own pace.

2. Teachers and students work together to create unique learning profiles and pathways 

Learning profiles are a vital part of effective personalised learning. A learning profile considers what inspires or motivates a child and how they learn things best. It helps children understand themselves better as learners, and also helps parents, teachers and other educators better understand the students.  Each learning profile holds important information about each student’s strengths and abilities, their likes and dislikes, preferred styles and methods of learning, and their challenges. For example in the IB curriculum, learners are encouraged to develop their IB learner profile which focuses on soft skills like communication and reflection to develop learners into well-rounded inquirers. 

Teachers and students use the learning profile together to create learning pathways. The student can consider how they will best learn a new skill or retain information on a topic, what they need to do to feel successful, and how they can make use of their strengths while also working towards overcoming challenges. 

Personalised learning makes use of renowned psychologist Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’. This zone describes a potential area of child development that can be self-achieved through problem solving, along with adult guidance. In other words, a teacher can help a child identify how they can stretch themselves to achieve the next level.

3. Regular informal, formative assessments take place

To keep personalised learning happening at a pace, regular assessments are made. These assessments take many forms and will vary often. The may include: 

  • Visual or spoken presentations
  • Digital presentations (i.e., powerpoints, blog entries, podcasts)
  • Written work or essays
  • Online quizzes
  • Informal discussions
  • Informal observation of learning

Self-assessment is also an important part of personalised learning. Teachers carefully consider the best method of assessing students in each competency and vary accordingly. 

Assessment materials and data are used to help students and teachers reflect on progress, set new goals and directions for learning, and to create a learner profile that fully reflects each student as a ‘whole child’ by collecting as many data points as possible.

4. Teachers provide flexible learning environments

Personalised learning is facilitated by multiple resources available within the classroom. The growing number of high-quality resources available in education, particularly those provided by technology, facilitates outstanding personalised learning.

During any lesson, a student may access a variety of materials of their choice which may include:

  • The teacher and their assistants
  • Topic libraries, books, journals and other written materials
  • Visual learning aids and posters
  • Digital tools
  • Online materials
  • Practical materials for prototypes, problem solving, and hands-on learning

The freedom to explore and experiment was a key tenet of influential psychologist Piaget’s findings in relation to optimal learning. He believed that children learn best when they can construct their own knowledge and make meaningful connections between classroom ‘play’ and real life. 

5. Structured lessons provide the framework for success 

The teacher provides structured lessons that give ample opportunity for students to reconnect with their previous learning, identify challenges and opportunities that will guide the day’s learning, and time for reflection and self-assessment. 

Whole-class instruction time makes the most of discussion and dialogue between students and the teacher. Skilled questioning by the teacher draws out knowledge and encourages students to make connections between classroom learning and real life. 

To summarise, applying the personalised learning approach calls for organising information so it makes sense to a child, making this information interesting, and delivering this in a way that best fits the child's learning style.

How to find out more

We invite parents of potential students to get in touch with us. We will happily tell you more about how personalised learning works within GEMS Education schools, offer you a tour of one or more of our campuses, discuss entrance requirements and school fees, or anything else you wish to know about GEMS Education schools in the UAE.

More Popular Blogs