In Tennessee, we believe all students should have the opportunity to achieve their chosen path in life. Each student is unique and has different strengths, interests, areas of growth, and learning styles. Personalization is one way of supporting students in accessing and obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in postsecondary and the workforce.
“Personalized Learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) all may vary based on learning needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated.” (U.S. Dept. of Education)
In 2015, the department convened the personalized learning task force to discuss Tennessee’s vision for personalized learning. The task force included stakeholders from schools, districts, non-profits, institutions of higher education, and divisions within the department who provided diverse perspectives and feedback on the current landscape and future opportunities for personalized learning in Tennessee. A complete copy of the personalized learning task force report can be found here.
For questions about Tennessee’s personalized learning approach contact Sam.Pearcy@tn.gov
Tennessee’s Four Personalized Learning Strategies
In 2016-17, the department launched the Blended Learning Pilot with 50 Algebra I/Integrated Math I teachers. The task force defines blended learning as the combination of strong human teaching strategies and technology-based teaching strategies fused together to strategically personalize learning for students. Teachers in the pilot were provided a learning management system, professional development, and coaching to see if blended learning impacts student proficiency, teacher differentiation, and student ownership and buy-in of their learning.
Micro-credentials, competency-based learning designed to develop and to assess specific skills, offer educators the ability to pursue their own learning based on their needs and interests while emphasizing evidence of improved outcomes. Tennessee recently completed year two of its micro-credential pilot, which launched in 2016-17 with 75 participating teachers. Year three will expand the micro-credentials offered and continue to build district capacity by adding school-level support for districts returning to the pilot. Additionally, the pilot will feature department-created micro-credentials in the areas of STEM and social and personal competencies.
Personalized learning strategies often leverage technology to increase the efficiency of the learning cycle. Innovative solutions have the potential to provide for data-driven teams to capitalize on using efficient analytics of existing data. A shift toward prediction and prescription utilizing machine-generated suggestions to improve students’ learning trajectories is possible through predictive analytics.
Tennessee is in the information-gathering stage of its predictive analytics work. As a foundation for this work, Tennessee has launched Impact TN (data dashboards) to provide educators with simplified access to student data and analytics. Additional information on Impact TN can be found here.
Tennessee defines competency-based education as “individualized pathways for students [created] by focusing on demonstrating mastery through application and allowing students to advance through curricula and grades as mastery is achieved.” The department is currently in the planning phase and will pilot competency-based education with 17 schools representing 13 districts in 2018-19. An update on the status of the pilot can be found here.
For additional information contact Adriana.Harrington@tn.gov.