Personalized Learning Resources

Foundational Concepts and Underlying Principals of Personalized and Competency-Based Education in LiFT

Education Reimagined (2015) A transformational vision for education in the U. S. This paper describes a vision of education that incorporates the following approaches: 1) Learner-Centered Paradigm: 2) Competency-Based; 3)Personalized, Relevant, and Contextualized; 4) Learner Agency;  5)Open-Walled; and Socially Embedded.

Patrick, S., Worthen, M., Frost, D., Gentz, S. (May 2016) Promising State Policies for Personalized Learning. iNACOL.  This report provides examples of promising state policies to scale and enable personalized learning. The intent of the report is to inform and empower the field with examples from states creating supportive policy environments.

Toshalis, E. &  Nakkula, M. J. (2012) Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice. The authors summarize what foundational and emerging research, particularly in the cognitive and behavioral sciences, tell us about how students learn and about what motivates them to learn.

Headden, S. & NcKay, S. (2015) at Motivation Matters: How New Research Can Help Teachers Boost Student Engagement.  This report from the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching identifies research-based factors essential to student motivation.

Zmuda, A., Curt is, G., and Ullman, D. (2015) Learning personalized: the evolution of the contemporary classroom. “This comprehensive resource explores what personalized learning looks like, how it changes the roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder, and why it inspires innovation.”

Clarke, J. (2013) Personalized learning: Student-designed pathways to high school graduation. This book is the result of an ongoing, qualitative study and is a guide for supporting a whole school to move toward personalized learning.

American Youth Policy Forum. Competency-Based Education Resources. (Annotated Bibliography)

Hattie, J.  (2008) Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. “Visible Learning and Teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.”

Kohn, A. (1993) Choices for Children: How and When to Let Students Decide. A seminal article on learner choice.

Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. (2015) Learner voice and choice lead to engagement.  “This article gives leaders observing a classroom better understanding of where teachers and students stand when it comes to personalizing learning.”

Four principles are applied in any Vygotskian classroom. ‘ Four key principles articulated in the writing of Lev Vygotsky: 1) the importance of social and collaborative activity; 2) the Zone of Proximal Development can serve as a guide for planning; 3) meaningful contexts; and 4) relating out of school experience to the child’s school experience.

Dewey, J. (First published in 1916) Democracy and Education. Dewey advocated “for placing the child, as opposed to the curriculum, at the center of the classroom… [K]nowledge couldn’t simply be given to a child, but that a student must experience something and engage with it to learn.”

Dweck, C. (2007) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. “People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed.”


Organizations Supporting Personalized Learning and Competency-Based Education

Learner-centered education

Education Reimagined, an initiative of Convergence, arose out of an 18-month dialogue to re-imagine education among 28 ideologically diverse practitioners and leaders. This group of innovators emerged with "A Transformational Vision for Education in the US" which sets out the fundamental transformation of the current school-centered education system to one that is learner-centered.

With the vision signatories now serving on the Advisory Board, Education Reimagined is committed to making learner-centered education available to every child in the US. This group seeks to accelerate the growth and impact of the Learner-Centered Education Movement in the United States, by:

  • Finding and encouraging learner-centered pioneers already at work in communities, school systems, policy arenas, and the education profession—to grow the number of active champions of learner-centered education;

  • Bringing diverse movement pioneers together who wouldn’t otherwise engage with one another and creating the conditions for their effective collaboration and innovation; and

  • Sharing the possibility of learner-centered education with a broad spectrum of education stakeholder groups—to attract new pioneers and to grow support for pioneering efforts.

We are excited and honored to be part of this pioneering group of dedicated educational professionals working together in this tremendous shift in education throughout the US.  This is a great video from them we think everyone who is interested in Learner-Centered Education should see.

Competency-based education

iNACOL is a nonprofit organization with the mission to catalyze the transformation of K-12 education policy and practice to advance powerful, personalized, student-centered experiences through competency-based, blended and online learning.

iNACOL engages in policy advocacy, publishes quality standards and catalyzes new opportunities for anytime, anywhere personalized learning.

There are some great resources for Schools, Educators, Policymakers, Organizations, Learners, Families and Communities and everyone engaged in Personalized Learning around the country at    

New Report:  Threshold Concept: Pedagogical Innovations Based on Learning Sciences - this series is focusing on four key areas: equity, quality, meeting students where they are, and policy.  Read the latest article here.

Personalized Learning

At the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, we're supporting grant making efforts to re-shape our education system to be more student-centered.  We envision an education system where learning transcends the traditional school calendar and setting.  We envision a system where students progress based upon the mastery of a skill or topic, rather than time spent in a classroom"

Competency-based Education

A project of iNACOL, CompetencyWorks is an online resource dedicated to providing information and knowledge about competency education in the K-12 education system. Drawing on lessons learned by innovators and early adopters, CompetencyWorks shares original research, knowledge and a variety of perspectives through an informative blog with practitioner knowledge, policy advancements, papers on emerging issues and a wiki with resources curated from across the field. CompetencyWorks also offers a blog on competency education in higher education so that the sectors can learn from each other and begin to align systems across K-12, higher education and the workplace.

Personalized Learning

THE NEW ENGLAND SECONDARY SCHOOL CONSORTIUM is a regional partnership that promotes forward-thinking innovations in the design and delivery of secondary education across New England. The five partner states—Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont—work together to close persistent achievement gaps and promote greater educational equity and opportunity for all students.

Highlander Institute

Today, the Highlander Institute services are directed at improving education by focusing on the educator, providing unique, tailored, embedded supports at the classroom, school and district level.  The Highlander Institute specialized in blended and personalized learning models that are focused on creating equity through education.  The Institute designs and implements proof-of-concept work, building not only the tools that enable districts to diagnose problems and design solutions from a student-centered perspective but also the capacity-building strategies that energize local educators to customize Institute knowledge and experience, mobilizing home-grown teams of personalized learning specialists.

Personalized Learning

UP for Learning provides training, resource development, and on-going support for a wide variety of initiatives that develop opportunities for young people to assume meaningful roles in shaping their learning and their lives.