Learning Takes a New Curve with PL

Now It’s Personal

Ben Nichols, staff writer

Choice will be at the top of the teaching menu next year as Stone Bridge begins implementing a new Personalized Learning program.  This new teaching strategy provides learning experiences that will be designed to offer different learning options to each individual student, shifting from traditional lectures and tests.


Personalized Learning in Loudoun schools has been around since before 2019, but a new push is bringing this process to SBHS.


According to understood.org, Personalized Learning is an educational program where each student gets a learning plan based on their current knowledge of various topics.


As of 2017, there were 15 schools that used a Personalized Learning system to educate their students — 10 elementary schools and five middle schools. These schools were provided with over 5,000 iPads in total to support the learning push.


While the personalized learning push is only currently present in four middle schools — Belmont RIdge, Trailside, Farmwell, and River Bend , other schools are sure to follow Stone Bridge in beginning this new initiative.


Part of personalized learning would include adapting environments to meet the needs of students, including changing class structure and school schedules. Unlike IEPs, personalized learning plans would also focus on the strengths and knowledge of students while working on their weaknesses.


Administrators at Stone Bridge are looking at changing the appearance and functionality of classrooms to maximize the benefits of this new program.


LCPS has already been using the Blended Learning Universe to initiate Personalized Learning in schools. According to the site, the Department of Instruction underwent reorganization in order to build a structure that would support schools and teachers with the needed shifts to implement the new learning system. The site also stated that testimonials from students and teachers were “very positive evidence” of Personalized Learning working for LCPS.


“Personalized Learning will allow teachers to use instructional strategies that allow for more collaboration and allow students more choice in how they demonstrate mastery — which, to me, is very important,” Mr. Flynn said. “Because, in the learning environment, I want to see that you’ve mastered the content — if you want to show me you’ve done that with a video, project, PSA, or otherwise, you should be able to get credit for that.”


Some personalized learning software is already in use in LCPS schools, including Aleks, Achieve3000, Dreambox, and i-Ready.


Almost all subjects could be “blended,” achieved when personalized learning has been fully implemented in that setting. While it may take some getting used to, students would be given full choice and control over the pace of their learning in these “blended” classrooms.


Stone Bridge will be working with Education Elements, an educational consulting company contracted by LCPS to work with all schools implementing Personalized Learning. The organization also works with DC Public Schools and the Gettysburg School District.


Personalized Learning, according to Education Elements,  improves student engagement and achievement, develops students to be lifelong learners, and better prepares them for college and careers.


“Using strategies within the classroom that allow different types of learners to be successful is needed — not everyone learns with just auditory processing, and it’s not beneficial to every learner when teachers are up there talking for long periods of time,” Mr. Flynn said. “Personalized learning moves in those directions with different methodologies in the classroom.”


Would this be implemented next year?