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Our Personalized Learning
Methodology

About our proven approach to implementing personalized learning successfully at the district and school level.

Our CEO Anthony Kim founded Education Elements in 2010 because he believed that learning could be personalized for every student. He wanted to help schools rethink the structure of schooling and the way technology could strengthen instruction and streamline operations.

Since then, Education Elements has worked with more than 750 schools and 140 districts. Through this work, we have supported more than 40,000 teachers and 630,000 students as we improve outcomes for students and positively shape the experience of all educators. As a result, we have a greater breadth and depth experience than any other school design consulting firm.

As our list of schools, districts, and networks has grown, so has the set of challenges and the diversity of solutions we offer. We have grown from supporting districts with blended learning to helping them design, implement, and support personalized learning models and to working with districts to solve their most pressing challenges -- including curriculum adoption, leadership development, and strategic planning.

Along the way, we have developed some core competencies including, but not limited to, school design, personalized learning implementation, capacity building & leadership development, and school district organizational change. And, we have developed and tested a methodology for school-level change - one that reflects our deep expertise in design thinking, change management, facilitation, and collaboration.

From the beginning, we’ve taken the position that sustainable educational change doesn’t happen because each teacher alone leans into their craft. Rather, we believe that because we are all connected within communities, districts, schools, and teams, our work together is as important as the individual work we need to do.

Our theory of practice has always been focused on systemic change within and across these groups, with the belief that by shifting the culture, and growing competencies as they relate to leading change, school and district leaders can realize long-term success. - Ben Politzer, Director Education Elements

OUR PERSONALIZED LEARNING METHODOLOGY

In general, our approach -- helping schools make the transition to more student-centered, personalized learning -- follows our 4 step methodology for change: Plan & Align, Foundations, Design & Launch, and Support, Reflect and Iterate. Our Personalized Learning Kit follows this approach as well.

Depending on timing or needs, we vary this approach. For some schools and districts, the best approach is the cover of all four phases over the course of a year to a year and a half. This allows for time to engage in the material, prototype, test, and be ready for the next phase without feeling rushed. Districts like Loudoun County VA, Horry County SC, Wake County NC, Warren Township IN took this approach to the methodology. There are cases when compressing the phases makes sense, or when covering only some of the phases makes sense - due to limitations in budget or time.

Education Elements Methodology

 

The Personalized Learning Design and Launch Kit

We regularly hear from school leaders interested in potential collaborations. Some have told us our face-to-face consultative support is cost-prohibitive. We get that.

That is why, after a year of testing, and based on 8 years of expert work with schools, we have decided to package our knowledge and methodology into our Personalized Learning Design and Launch Kit. For an accessible price to all schools; you get premium content and the Education Elements’ approach at an affordable price.

The kit includes all of the activities, agendas, and materials, as well as the project management resources, needed for a leader to guide the professional learning of their staff and do what we do...without us being there.

Click here for more details about the toolkit

Plan and Align


During this phase, we work with districts and schools to define their teams, identify the project lead and sponsor, and develop an overall roadmap for designing, implementing, and supporting personalized learning. A key element of this phase is ensuring that there is alignment on the goals and timeline for the project.

Foundations


Core Four of Personalized Learning - DNMDuring this phase, we lead a foundations event to help school and district leaders in developing a shared understanding of the components of personalized learning. The workshop includes a personalized learning simulation for all participants, provides opportunities for the team to learn more about the essential elements of personalized learning (ie the Core 4 Elements of Personalized Learning); and provides an opportunity for participants to explore examples of what personalized learning looks like in other districts and schools across the country. This is also a time for initial personalized learning vision setting.

We conduct readiness assessments with teams to help them better understand what’s working already, what initiatives exist that connect to personalized learning and, based on the results of the assessment, we work with schools to determine an appropriate timeline for the implementation.  

Design & Launch


[LCPS] Personalized Learning Instructional Models for 2018-2019Education Elements will facilitate a series of design workshops for the school design teams. Teams will be exposed to design thinking as a way of thinking and problem-solving. Teams will have opportunities to reimagine the student’s day, review personalized learning instructional models and approaches and ultimately create initial drafts of instructional models and operational solutions that align to the school and district vision and meet academic needs.  The design workshop is designed to push participants’ thinking, inspire iteration and refinement, and instill a foundation for a sharing and learning community of practice. Schools will decide what will work best for their teams, and explore providing multiple pathways for teachers - so every teacher has a way forward.

Image to the left: Teachers’ ideas transformed into personalized learning Instructional Models for their schools

 

Core 4 Deep Dive_ Classroom Level CommitmentsAfter design, the Launch Workshop is an opportunity to move from learning about PL and talking about PL to officially becoming a PL School.  Topics will include change management, professional development, stakeholder engagement, and launch planning among others.

Image to the right: School Teams develop personalized learning pathways for each teacher to determine their path.

 

Support, Reflect & Iterate


The work with schools does not end with design. Implementation, reflection, and iteration are crucial steps to sustainability.  This phase includes regular check-in meetings with school teams, classroom walk-throughs and recommendations, model refinement and adaptation, and measuring success.

Learning Walks 1: Learning walks are typically six to eight weeks after Launch. During these, we meet with the staff to discuss progress thus far, visit classrooms using an agreed upon tool to provide summary of observations; finally we debrief as a group to discuss overall trends and recommended school actions based on our observations. The team determines a plan to provide professional development to support those findings.

Reflect and Iterate: Following the first round of learning walks, we deliver a customized, half-day academy to your teams. During this academy, district and school leaders will reflect on the successes and challenges of personalized learning thus far. The academy will also be an opportunity for school teams to share out the results of their learning walks and plan supports based on the areas of observed need. We provide trainings on targeted areas of need. Topics are identified by district staff in partnership with Education Elements and school teams.

Learning Walks 2: The second round of learning walks are typically six to eight weeks after the start of the second semester of implementation. During these learning walks, we will meet with the district and school staff to discuss progress thus far, then visit classrooms using an agreed upon tool to provide a summary of observations; finally, we debrief.

Reflect & Plan: Following the first round of learning walks, we deliver a customized, half-day academy to your teams. During this academy, district and school leaders will reflect on the successes and challenges of personalized learning thus far. The academy will also be an opportunity for school teams to share out the results of their learning walks and plan supports based on the areas of observed need. Topics can be used for planning and preparation for the following year.

Results


This approach has resulted in documented impact year over year. Here are a few highlights of the results we’ve achieved with our school and district partners:

  • Our district partners see results
    • 92% of district leaders say that teachers are  more effective
    • 83% of districts leaders say that students are  more engaged in their learning
    • Sustained academic growth: The Enlarged City School District of Middletown, NY has seen 5 years of sustained academic growth translating in 18 points of growth in math proficiency, and 17 points of growth in ELA proficiency.
  • We change how districts work together:
    • 95% of district leaders see teachers innovate more often
    • 86% of district leaders say team meetings and collaboration are more effective
    • 85% of district leaders say roles and accountabilities within their organization are more clear
  • Districts continue to partner with Education Elements on their most innovative projects.
    • In a survey of district leaders, 100% of respondents report that after working with Education Elements, their district has more capacity to support personalized learning initiatives, and 100% of district leaders say Education Elements provides essential support to help their district to develop and/or articulate their personalized learning strategy.

"The resources in the Personalized Learning Toolkit have been super valuable. In fact, whereas I used to spend time researching activities and planning agendas for my schools, I am now able to leverage the resources directly from the kit. The kit also has a project management tool that keeps me very organized; it has streamlined our transformation process and I use it to track all of our monthly activities. It's been several months since we started using the kit - and I'm loving it!"

Heather Hurley, M.Ed - Supervisor, Personalized Learning - Department of Teaching and Learning - Arlington Public Schools


Learn More About How We Can Help You Implement Personalized Learning in Your School or Entire District