Make Learning Personal


We KNOW our students, right? We know their strengths, challenges, interests, and goals (Probably, you know things they don’t even know – like those pet-peeves and weird habits.)

The questions is… do your students know themselves well enough to be successful self-managers and online learners? As students adjust to distance learning due to COVID-19, we suggest helping them take ownership of their learning by focusing on their Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs).

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How can we help students better understand their online learning style?

How can Personalized Learning maximize student engagement?


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Sometimes you just need to watch a little dog wearing goggles tied to a big bunch of balloons float away (:08). You know what, I mean?


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Watch how Personalized Learning Plans at Main Street Middle School (2:54) in Vermont are charting a path to engaged student learning. 


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Build Student Engagement with Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs)

Whether your school has established PLPs across the district or your students have never heard of Personalized Learning Plans, now is the time to get students thinking about their abilities, their resources, and their goals. Here are four resources and tips to help you at each phase of the Personalized Learning process.

(Re)Create Student Learner Profiles

What are your students’ learning styles? What are they interested in outside of school? We may have understood these things a month ago, but how have students’ needs and interests changed due to social distancing? Students are learning in a whole new way, so now’s a great time to either revisit (and recreate) existing PLP’s or to leverage this tool for the first time.

How to create a Learner Profile: Have students (re)create their Learning Profile by taking a learning style assessment from Thrively or students and families can compare their character-strengths assessment together.  You can also use open-ended questions or a mix of assessments like we did in our educator project plan of the week – TomTod’s Big Future Gameplan, an easy-to-use Personalized Learning Plan for students. Kathleen McCleskey, an expert on Personalized Learning, breaks down the essential parts of a Learner Profile around UDL’s (Universal Design for Learning) three core principles:

    • AccessHow do students best access or understand information?
    • Express – How do students best express their learning?
    • Express – How do students best express their learning?


Download TomTod’s Personalized Learning Plan Template

MY BIG FUTURE GAMEPLAN slides and accompanying Educator Project Plan.

(Re)Equip Students’ Learning Backpacks

Everyone’s learning backpack has been turned upside down since the shift to distance learning. What learning skills and strategies are students using to learn? What apps, websites, tools are helping them? What goals are they currently working towards? 

Kathleen McCleskey recommends having a 1×1 conversations with students about their learning goals and resources. (Yes, we know 30 Zoom calls per class seems intense, but be creative and use email, journals, phone calls, etc, to make things easier). McCleskey encourages teachers to remember, “Every conversation the teacher has with learners can open a new door or bring up new ideas that may reduce any barriers they may have and can maximize learning.”

(Re)Assess Student’s Learning Plan

When pandemics happen, plans change. Yup – that is the understatement of the year, but it is very true. All of our student’s plans have been forced to change. Their family’s plans, academic plans, and extra-curricular plans may have been ripped away from them. 

Sprinkle in reflective assessment (like these) to help students accept this change, adjust their action steps, or set new goals. Vermont’s Agency of Education suggests helping students create Transition Plans to take into summer because “transition plans are critical to coherence for students as they undergo major changes and transitions in their lives.”

Get more resources on Personalized Learning Plans

Edmentum’s Personalized Learning Workbook

Edsurge’s Personalised Learning ToolKit

Vermont’s Critical Elements for Personalized Learning

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Thank you and Adventure on!

– The TomTod Team

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