What is Personalized Learning?

How Do You Define Personalized Learning?

PL is often misunderstood because it is incorrectly defined. Listen to Allison Zmuda's definition to get a better understanding of what PL is and isn't.

What About the Teachers?

One of the biggest misconceptions about PL is that the teacher is pushed out of the picture. This couldn't be further from the truth. Listen to STEM teachers Brian Walach (math) and Dr. Sarah Goldin (science) highlight Greenwich High School’s Innovation Lab, and how they guide the learning process of their students.

Four Attributes

By Allison Zmuda and Bena Kallick
four filters


Empowerment comes from an environment in which students recognize the power of their own ideas and recognize the shift that can happen by being exposed to others’ ideas.


The student works with the teacher to develop a challenge, problem, or idea, clarify what is being measured (learning goals), envision the product or performance (assessment) and outline an action plan to be successful on that performance to achieve the desired results (learning actions).

Social construction:

Students build ideas through relationships with others as they theorize, investigate, and develop in pursuit of a common goal. There is real power in feeling that you are not alone, a sense of camaraderie when you are working to cause a change, create a performance, or build a prototype.


Students need to know enough about themselves to be able to make wise decisions as they navigate through the turbulence of a rapidly changing environment.

Listen to Personalized Learning Principals

Dr. Eric Chagala of VIDA (Vista, Ca.) and Meghan Ofer of Roxborough (Littleton, Co.) chat with Allison Zmuda about what PL looks like in their schools and what they've learned as building principals.

Listen to each of the audio clips to hear advice from two principals who are walking the walk.


Q1: What does personalized learning look like in your school?

Q2: Is PL appropriate for all students?

Q3: How do you work to grow professional practice?

Q4: As a building principal, what is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Q5: What is one thing you can suggest to a building principal to get started?

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