Log in

Part 3: Personalising learning: A strategy for review | An Enabling e-Learning event

Also see: Part one: Personalising learning | a historical perspective and Part 2: Personalising learning : Shallow and deep expressions of practice | An Enabling e-Learning event

What is personalised learning?

Personalised learning allows akonga/students to take control of their own learning. Each akonga is unique and learns in different ways. Personalising learning means students:

  • understand how they learn
  • own and drive their learning
  • are co-designers of the curriculum and their learning environment

In a personalised learning environment the learning objectives, content, method, and pace may all vary (so personalisation encompasses differentiation and individualisation). 

Taken from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Teaching/Pedagogy/Personalised-learning

A strategy for review

Personalising learning is a very complex concept and no 'one-size-fits-all' explanation or strategy can be offered here as a solution. However, there are some guiding questions school leaders and teachers can discuss and disseminate further, that may provide a way forward.

One diagram to help with this thinking looks like this: 

5 Key components of Personalising learning

Reference: http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306 

For example; as a learning community, are our teachers, students, parents/families/whānau clear about:

1. what constitutes good ‘learning to learn’ strategies and the importance the Key Competencies in Curriculum design? http://keycompetencies.tki.org.nz/Key-competencies-and-effective-pedagogy/Self-audit-framework



Snapshot: Students can articulate what/why/how of learning and use higher-order verbs to describe metacognitive processes.


2. how students can take control of their own learning and monitor their own progress, using formative assessment practices? http://assessment.tki.org.nz/Assessment-in-the-classroom/School-stories/Personalising-assessment 



Snapshot: Students can self reflect and seek effective feedback from teachers/others to influence their next steps in learning.


3. what constitutes effective teaching and learning strategies methodologies? http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Teaching/Pedagogy



Snapshot: Teachers demonstrate an understanding of how students learn best in terms of current learning theory and the science of learning - in the way they facilitate effective learning opportunities.


4. Curriculum choice, design and review and choice - where the decisions about Curriculum are localised, authentic and negotiated? http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Reviewing-your-curriculum/Setting-the-direction NEW resource from NZC Online.



Snapshot: Schools regularly model open, collaborative consultation and feed-in with students, parents and whānau about curriculum design and review.


5. what mentoring and support mechanisms are available to help support differentiated learning needs including possible resources that may have not traditionally been thought of as part of the schooling system? http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Technologies/Assistive-technologies



Snapshot: Teachers and learners have regular access to people resources (community, experts) and new technologies (mobile, social) that can enable students to better reach their learning potential.


Encouraging community-wide feed-in and ownership is valuable, knowing your students and wider community is vital.

Impermeable Curriculum


How has your school addressed some/all of these components of personalising learning? We’d love to hear more from you as we grow a wider understanding in this area.

Want to find explore more? Why not join us this Thursday for the following LIVE WEBINAR:

WEBINAR: Personalising Learning, Thursday 18 September, 3.45-4.45pm

Some would argue personalising learning is one key trend that underpins all effective teaching and learning pedagogy. Want to know more? Come and join Mary-Anne Murphy (LwDT facilitator) and Rachel Bolstad (NZCER) as we discuss understandings around personalising learning, and explore how shifting the 'Locus of Control' can transpire into classroom practice. REGISTER NOW.

Also see:

Connected educator month 

This event is also part of the up-coming Connected Educator Month. A month full of free professional learning in New Zealand and around the world. 


Image source: CC camera


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 19 Sep 2014 10:24am ()

    Yesterday we hosted a LIVE Webinar on, Personalising Learning with Rachel Bolstad and Mary-Anne MurphyThose who registered to attend were most interested to learn more about the following:


    Before we got started, we came together to create some shared understandings about what Personalised Learning is not and attendees scribed the following:



    Rachel Bolstad (Senior researcher from NZCER and co-author of, Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching - A NZ perspective started her presentation with a question from a BOT chair - who wanted to know more about the components/aspects of Personalised Learning. This was the basis for Rachel's sharing where she drew on the following methaphor to decribe how complex Personalising Learning is.


    Rachel shared the historical timeline of NZ's perspective on Personalising Learning, including an earlier 2006 publication Let’s talk about personalising learningIn 2012 this focused more on future-oriented practices with the publication, Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching—a New Zealand perspective.

    Rachel explained that Personalising Learning is both a simple and complex idea.


    At the “?” in the middle - this is the most important part of the diagram. This is the link between the simple and complex parts of education—identifying best practice, drawing on research and also thinking about where to go to next.


    Rachel also referred to the idea that Personalising Learning is like a “networked campground” (Disciplining or drafting, or 21st century learning?) and referenced Charles Leadbeater's work on, Personalisation through participation.

    One valuable understanding is, the relationship between research and practice - how can we integrate the best research available into best practice? We can only find evidence/data from the present. The challenge is to think about what the future looks like. Research can’t see into the future.

    “We need to learn from each other!” How can we benefit from the sharing of practice, that reflects how schools are addressing Personalising Learning.

    Examples that NZCER have drawn on, are written about in the "Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching—a New Zealand perspective" report, and in the Key Competencies for the future book. 

    Rachel's presentation:


    What might it look like?


    It is hard to talk about all the many diverse examples in one webinar, but the following sharing from Mary-Anne Murphy has helped to provide some vignettes for further discussion.


    Mary-Anne Murphy started her presentation by asking, "If we're starting out with Personalising Learning and a future-focused curriculum, what would we need to consider, know, do? We could ask ourselves. How do students learn and what is Universal design for learningWhat about assessment as and for learning"?

    One important consideration is, having a carefully thought-out and deeply embedded process to shift the locus of control from teachers to students.


    Mary-Anne also asked, "To what extent do we know how our students learn and to what extent do they know it"? Students need to be reflecting on their learning. In terms of assessment - we want students to be more self-managing around their assessment practices.

    With these key drivers in mind, Mary-Anne went on to share several resources that put the locus of control back on the students. IE: Kid-speaked literacy progressions

    Sharon Allen, Juliet Dickinson from Te Kowhai School jumped in and shared ways they encourage students to be self-managing - by modifying teaching and learning strategies that empower students through fluid groups, self-managing timetables and a move away from teaching 'levels' to teaching 'concepts' and 'strategy' based on progressional learning goals.

    Mary-Anne and guest Anne Sturgess went on to provide a secondary example - where one teacher, Gareth Manins has designed a relevant, authentic Curriculum, where students arhive and reflect on their work through a variety of e-tools. His story is told in full in Assessment Online.

    You can watch the recording of the whole webinar here.

    Please Note: In the second half of the presentation, you will need to move the Google presentation slides yourselves - as Mary-Anne speaks to these.

    We'd love for more schools to share what they are trialing in terms of Personalising Learning, so please feel free to add your own comments below.

  • Rachel Bolstad (View all users posts) 19 Sep 2014 2:50pm ()

    I was thinking about Ragne's question and suggestion yesterday in the webinar, the gist of which was a request to hear more about what I have seen as a researcher in other schools. I lost my voice connection at that point (for better or worse!) so it was therefore great to have the various examples yesterday from Mary Anne and teachers, because they reflect some of where current practice is at, whereas the examples discussed in our research can sometimes be months or years old by the time it makes it into a report or book or even a presentation. Although I get to visit many different schools for many different projects, my opportunities to spend time in exemplary schools and classrooms is regrettably much more limited than I would like! The realities of working in a contract research environment with many irons in the fire it that we only get to dip in and out of school practice, and by the time we have processed what we are seeing often practice has already moved on in new and interesting directions.  I think the work that facilitators like Mary Anne are doing with schools is really interesting,  and hearing about this directly from the practitioners I think is extremely valuable and important. Lately I have spent a lot of time stalking teachers' blogs and twitter accounts trying to keep up with the thinking and experimentation that is happening out there. I have been thinking a lot about how research organisations like mine can support schools with "just in time" research that fits with the questions that are top of your minds at any given time. This is actually harder than it might seem for some of the reasons I said in the webinar - research is in some ways inherently a backwards-looking exercise, whereas we want research that can take us to our "next practice". I sort of think about this as research "leading from behind". We can do our best to try to anticipate where people's thinking will be, and what the research needs will be when schools start exploring beyond the edges of their prior practice or beliefs and want to know if they are on the right track"- but in some ways even we don't know what that is until we see it. I would LOVE to hear more stories from alll of you that we could chat about. I've seen such interesting conversations on the VLN about personalising learning and it's a good way to directly connect with other educators to ask and answer the "what have you tried?" "what worked/what didn't" "how did you do it" "what are you going to try next?" sorts of questions...

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 03 Feb 2016 10:36am ()

    I've enjoyed this read from Heemi McDonald, in his reflective post on, The Networked Curriculum Design. It hits all the marks with recognising the power of networks and the power of 'connectedness and collaboration, personalised learning and powerful partnerships'. This stands out for me:

    "The principles of leading learning in practice include authenticity, inquiry, collaboration, future-focused, supported challenge, student centred, rigour, flexible and responsive."

    as does.... 

    "Key to developing a future-focused curriculum is determining what we believe to be worth knowing and learning, then focusing on the practice that goes behind it."

    As we embark on teaching fresh in a new year, what constitutes 'stuff' worth knowing and learning and how do we know what this is?

Join this group to contribute to discussions.

e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

Exploring leadership for change, vision, policy and strategy that integrates ICTs into learning.