Earlier this month, the Highlander Institute, the Christensen Institute, and the Learning Accelerator held a three-day event called the 2018 Blended & Personalized Learning Conference. Attendees saw blended and personalized learning in action and collaborated with other practitioners to see these ideas in practice.

Unlike many conferences I attended this year, this event was a chance for educators and leaders to discuss blended learning in action with people who are already doing it. Topics included the day-to-day implementation of blended learning, strategies and systems that have effectively supported replication, and how to scale blended and personalized learning across schools and districts.

Defining blended and personalized learning

The first question participants wrestled with was to develop a consistent understand of blended and personalized learning. Some common themes that emerged:

Here’s what you missed at BPLC18, the Blended & Personalized Learning Conference
  • Personalized learning is instruction that offers pedagogy, curriculum, and learning environments to meet the individual student’s needs.
  • The experience is tailored to learning preferences and the specific interests of different learners.
  • Personalization also encompasses differentiated instruction that supports student progress based on subject matter mastery.

Designing blended and personalized-learning environments

We brainstormed how to provide access to appropriate technology, while detailing supports for teachers to give students flexibility around physical space, learning time, and instructional methods. Once we started talking, the ideas about instructional design structure kept flowing.

Common design ideas were:

  • Small group work
  • Presentations
  • Journaling
  • Role playing
  • Learning games
  • Field experiences
  • Case studies
  • Class discussions
  • Concept maps
  • Role playing, simulations
  • Group quizzing
  • Generate lists
  • Cooperative learning
  • Project-based learning
  • Debates

About the Author:

Matthew Joseph, Ed.D., is the director of digital learning, informational technology, and innovation for Milford Public Schools in Milford, Mass. Follow him on twitter @MatthewXJoseph.


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