When it comes to higher education, a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer acceptable to students, who are used to a more personalized approach for everything, including the clothes they wear or the music they listen to.
Although personalization has become an integral aspect of education today, higher education still finds it challenging to adopt it.
Personalized learning paths offer an exciting solution to some of these challenges by primarily focusing on the specific needs of individual students in the higher education space.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss the need for educational institutions to create personalized learning paths and how they can create them to achieve better student outcomes.
Related Read: 6 Pro Tips to Create Great Custom eLearning Paths
What is a Personalized Learning Path?
A learning path is essentially a collection of personalized courses that are grouped to ensure that students master a particular topic or program.
Personalized learning pathways are an excellent way to design a customized curriculum centered on what the students need to learn.
The idea of grouping is to enroll numerous students into the same learning path quickly and easily, so they all gain proficiency in that particular subject.
Why Should Educational Institutions Create Learning Paths for Students?
There are several advantages to creating learning paths for students. Some of these are discussed below –
1. Ownership of Learning
When students are actively involved in the planning phase of their own course, they are much more engaged in learning activities.
A personalized learning path offers this motivation, as it empowers students to take complete control over their learning journey. Since they invest so much time and effort into it, they’re more driven to excel at every learning goal.
2. Self-Paced Learning
Personalized learning paths allow students to decide the pace at which they learn. Unlike the traditional learning methodology, in the personalized learning approach, students can manage the speed at which they master a particular subject.
Using various self-assessment tools periodically, students can ensure that they fully understand the course content before moving forward.
3. Enhanced Student Engagement
With personalized learning paths, students are encouraged to have much higher engagement with the subject, thereby making for a more personalized education for them.
Instructors can help them identify the ways they learn best and set their individual goals and specific targets for progression. In addition to this, students can create their own schedules which meet their needs.
4. Cater to Different Learning Styles
Personalization through learning paths enables course material to be presented in the most meaningful and relevant ways to students.
It allows the students to pick and choose the best and most-suited delivery methods that are most accessible and relevant to them.
5. Steps to Create Personalized Learning Paths for Higher Education Students
Customized learning paths allow students to co-design their own learning with educators instead of just following the instructions or complying with the directions of others.
The key objective of this approach is to help learners take complete ownership of their learning and become independent in their personal learning journey.
Following are the steps you need to take to create personalized learning paths for students –
1. Develop Personal Learning Goals for Students
Irrespective of the fact that you’re creating personal learning paths for each student individually, the goals and objectives of the overall course must still be an integral part of the experience.
To be able to create a successful personal learning path strategy, you need to develop a robust plan that effortlessly blends course essentials with the individual needs and wants of each student.
At this stage, the students and educators need to work in collaboration to develop short-term, intermediate, and long-term personal learning goals, where expected outcomes must be specific and aligned to goals so that the students can see a clearly defined path forward.
Further, apart from the individualized goals and objectives that the students set for themselves, the learning path should also ensure that the students walk away from the experience with a detailed understanding of the key subject matter.
2. Empower Your Students
To make sure that the personal learning path you create is truly successful, students must feel that they are in control of their online learning experience.
You can achieve this by ensuring that students are allowed to take charge of their learning experience by choosing which activities (collaborating with peers on specific tasks, identifying apps to support learning) they complete next, assessments they will take, or the way they receive the eLearning content.
For instance, while creating personalized learning paths, give students the chance to assess their own knowledge via online assessments.
The idea here is to make your students feel empowered where they have a direct say in the learning process.
3. Create Progress Markers At Regular Intervals
At this stage, the instructor and students identify markers that show their progress towards specific learning goals.
Creating periodic milestones gives your students a chance to check their own progress along their learning journey and ensure that they are on the right path.
Another benefit of these progress markers is that they allow both educators and students to determine whether any changes are required in the learning path to ensure the accomplishment of each goal.
You can either create weekly checklists that your students can follow to stay updated and remain on track or create a single list of mandatory online assignments and exercises.
4. Strategically Cater to Different Student Learning Styles
When it comes to online learning, not all students have the same learning styles or personal preferences. This makes it really important to integrate multiple online activities and exercises into your learning path, thus giving students the ability to choose what works best for them.
For instance, auditory learners can opt for podcasts or virtual lectures, whereas visual learners can go ahead with watching videos and other image-rich content.
This kind of variety gives every student the opportunity to take advantage of the course and create a learning path that is best suited to their specific needs.
5. Clearly Define How The Learning Will Be Demonstrated
The last step in creating personalized learning paths is clearly defining how learning will be demonstrated. As students commit to their specific learning goals, they are likely to identify various rigorous ways to demonstrate learning.
The key here is to offer students the constructive feedback they require and allow them to learn from their own mistakes. Similarly, do not forget to seek student feedback so that you can further refine your strategy and ensure that every student is receiving the kind of support they require.
A personalized learning pathway is an excellent tool that empowers students with complete control of their learning and allows them to acquire and retain skills/content effectively.
With the above-mentioned steps, you can create excellent learning paths that can help you bring a certain order to your students’ learning. It also helps them focus on what really matters and apply the skills and knowledge acquired more strategically.