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The Role of Teachers in Customized Learning Environments

Written by: Wilson College   •  Dec 18, 2023

Customized Learning

The Role of Teachers in Customized Learning Environments

Both students and teachers can benefit from customized learning. By creating a student-focused curriculum, teachers tailor their lessons, activities, and instruction in a way that best helps their students learn and excel.

To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by Wilson College Online’s Master of Mass Customized Learning program.

What Is Customized Learning?

Each student brings unique needs to the classroom. Customized learning allows students to each take their own path, which can aid in their growth and development.

For example, teachers can customize educational content and teaching methods for individual students. An emphasis on individual evaluations promotes self-directed and collaborative learning. By incorporating each student’s strengths, areas for growth, learning style, and interests into customized plans, teachers engage and motivate students.

Customized learning also allows teachers to create structure while accommodating students’ needs, supporting their efforts, and developing individualized strategies to help them learn. For example, teachers can set individual goals for students using adaptive learning technology, data analytics, and instructional design strategies. These tools also allow teachers to seamlessly track students’ progress and ensure that students meet benchmarks for learning.

While customized learning does not replace individualized education programs (IEPs), 504 plans, or other accommodations for students with disabilities, the approach can help these students succeed.

How Students Benefit From Customized Learning

Customized learning benefits students in several ways. Students participate in engaging, interesting lessons that target their areas for growth.

A customized approach meets the unique needs of each student. Customized learning allows students to learn at their own pace with focused guidance. Updated learning plans help students target the topics and skills that they need more help with. And self-directed approaches can build students’ confidence and self-advocacy skills. For example, students quickly learn that teachers modify the individualized curriculum as students express their needs and interests.

Research shows that customized approaches increase students’ motivation, engagement, and retention. This leads to higher student satisfaction with the curriculum. When teachers create clear expectations and goals, students can focus on their assignments without the pressure of having to stay on a one-size-fits-all schedule. Individualized lessons also minimize comparisons between students.

In today’s world, digital literacy is a vital skill. Customized plans introduce students to educational technology that improves their digital literacy, builds their critical thinking skills, and informs them how they learn and work best. This focus prepares students for the future.

Incorporating Customized Learning Into the Classroom

Incorporating customized learning approaches into the classroom requires an investment. For example, teachers must consider different customized learning models and analyze each student’s needs. By implementing a customized approach, teachers can see improvements in students’ learning outcomes.

Four Customized Learning Models

The following are the four customized learning models commonly used by schools. Each has benefits, and educators may need to adapt to the model their school offers.

Learner Profiles

In this approach, schools maintain records of each student’s strengths, needs, motivations, progress, and goals. Teachers can draw on these learner profiles to make decisions that positively affect the students’ education.

Personalized Learning Path

With a personalized learning path approach, students customize their own path based on their progress, motivations, and goals. While each path is unique, they may include group projects, individual assignments, and one-on-one tutoring with teachers.

Competency-Based Progression

A competency-based model starts with a customized learning plan that lays out clear benchmarks. When students demonstrate mastery of specific skills and knowledge, they can progress. Students can use nontraditional methods such as projects or internships to demonstrate mastery.

Flexible Learning Environments

In a flexible learning environment, teachers work with administrators to design flexible classroom spaces that match students’ learning styles. Rather than using a traditional classroom structure, the schedule may match students with particular spaces. This approach allows teachers to choose how to allocate their time and resources.

Implementing Customized Learning Plans

How can teachers implement customized learning plans? First, they must learn about each student’s needs, interests, and learning styles. They need to consider whether the students work better alone or in groups. And evaluate whether project-based or paperwork-based assignments will work best for different students.

Second, teachers create personalized learning objectives for each student. These objectives should match the course activities and the students’ needs, including how much repetition the students require. During this stage, educators should also consider the best method to test whether students are meeting their learning objectives.

Third, teachers develop personalized learning activities for each student. These can incorporate adaptive learning technologies that incentivize learning and accommodate students’ needs. Technologies should adjust content and activities based on the students’ performance. Teachers can consider using digital schedules that students and teachers can update to keep students on track.

Improving Education With Customized Learning

Customized learning can improve the quality of the educational experience for both students and teachers. Centering students’ needs and interests engages them in the curriculum and allows teachers to be more creative and attentive. Through physical classroom changes, educational technology, and consistent feedback, teachers can help students become engaged in their education and motivated to succeed.


21K School, “5 Benefits of Personalized Learning”

Education Elements, “Six Examples of What Personalized Learning Looks Like”

ELearning Industry, “From One-Size-Fits-All to Tailored Online Education: The Advantages of Personalized Learning”

LinkedIn, “The Future of Education—Personalized and Customized Learning With Technology”

My English Pages, “Empowering Students: The Key to Personalized Learning”

Understood, “Personalized Learning: What You Need to Know”

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