Making Sense of Personalized Learning: What It Looks Like and How it Helps Students


This is part one of a three-part webinar series on different facets of personalized learning. Click here for part two and part three

In this webinar, leading national experts will make practical sense of common personalized learning approaches, providing examples of what they look like in practice, conditions for implementation, and how they can be used to promote specific aspects of college and career readiness. Participants will learn how to practically describe personalized learning approaches using accessible language and how to connect personalized learning approaches with specific goals for student learning and outcomes over time. In addition, this webinar will share policy opportunities that state leaders can promote local use of personalized learning approaches.

Partner Resources:

iNACOL Resource Hub

iNACOL: Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education

iNACOL: What’s Possible with Personalized Learning? An Overview of Personalized Learning for Schools, Families & Communities

iNACOL/CompetencyWorks: What Is Competency Education?

iNACOL/CompetencyWorks: Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England

iNACOL: Issue Brief: State Policy & K-12 Competency-Based Education

iNACOL: Promising State Policies to Advance Personalized Learning

iNACOL: Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning

CIL Personalized Learning Resource Hub

CIL: Competencies and Personalized Learning from the Handbook on Personalized Learning for States, Districts, and Schools CCRS Center: The College and Career Readiness and Success Organizer

CCRS Center: CBE 360 Survey Toolkit

CCRS Center: Designing Competency-Based Articulation Agreements: A Framework for State Educational Agencies and Postsecondary Education Institutions

Additional Resources:

CCSSO/JFF: Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Teaching

Bellwether: A Policy Playbook for Personalized Learning: Ideas for State and Local Policymakers

KnowledgeWorks: A State Policy Framework for Scaling Personalized Learning

Strategy: Multi-Age Classrooms

Inside a Multiage Classroom

Multi-age Design Classroom: Archdiocese of Hartford

Epiphany Learning Takes Walker Elementary’s Personalized Learning Environment to the Next Level

Presenter Biographies

Catherine Jacques is a Researcher in the Education Quality group at American Institutes for Research. Her work focuses on systems and supports for educator effectiveness and development and for college- and career-readiness. Jacques provides technical assistance to states and districts and develops resources for the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and the College and Career Readiness and Success Center, supports the implementation of educator evaluation and development systems in several states, and leads work on Career and Technical Education at AIR through the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders. Jacques also conducts qualitative research on educator effectiveness, student learning objectives, and teaching and learning standards. Previous to her work at AIR, Jacques has conducted research on classroom quality and curriculum in multiple urban and suburban school districts.

Jacques earned a master’s degree in education policy from the School of Education at the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in English from Guilford College in North Carolina.

Susan Patrick is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). iNACOL is a nonprofit providing policy advocacy, publishing research, developing quality standards, and driving the transformation to personalized, competency-based education forward.

She is the former Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and wrote the National Educational Technology Plan in 2005 for Congress. She served as legislative liaison for Governor Hull in Arizona, ran a distance learning campus as a Site Director for Old Dominion University’s TELETECHNET program, and served as legislative staff on Capitol Hill.

Patrick was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2016. In 2014, she was named a Pahara–Aspen Education Fellow. In 2011, she was named to the International Advisory Board for the European Union program for lifelong learning.

Patrick holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College.

Mark Williams provides expertise to the Center on Innovation in career and technical education and is part of CIL’s team managing the professional network of Indistar users in IndistarConnect; he also provides expertise on educational technology for the center. Mark is the vice president for institutional advancement at CIL’s partner organization, the Academic Development Institute, where he is responsible for working with state and district partners to provide research, training, and tools for leadership and supervision of rapid district and school improvement. A former high school teacher, Mark served as the Illinois state director for career and technical education from 2005 to 2012, during which time he received several awards for his contribution to career and technical education (CTE) and exercised national leadership in organizations dedicated to CTE and the promotion of college and career readiness. For Illinois, he oversaw the policy and programs relating to secondary CTE, as well as alignment of K–12 career awareness, exploration, and development. He has worked extensively with Illinois’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Business Roundtable , including the Illinois Innovation Talent Initiative that linked high school students with industry scientists, engineers, and experts in real world projects. He was also one of the three original designers of the Illinois Pathways Initiative, which partners business and industry with the world of public education to enhance the educational experiences of young Illinoisans. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy. When not managing the constant activity and continual crises of a family of eight children and five grandchildren, Mark enjoys reading, the history of WWII aviation, flying model aircraft, and keeping his 1986 Porsche in drivable condition. He and his wife Cilla host a monthly charity classic car “Cruise Ins” for the Optimist Club of Delavan, Illinois.

Sam Redding is the senior learning specialist for CIL, and provides expertise in the areas of school management, social and emotional learning, family-school relationships, school improvement, and the factors that affect student learning. Sam draws on his experiences as a teacher, dean, administrator, and author to bring his own combination of leadership, wisdom, and innovative thinking to the CIL team. He was co-editor of the Handbook on Innovations in Learning, published by CIL, for which he also wrote or co-wrote three chapters. His webinar, Keeping the Personal in Personalized Learning, and his monograph, Through the Student’s Eyes: A Perspective on Personalized Learning—a practice guide for teachers—are freely available for downloading, as are the chapters from the Handbook.

In addition to his role at CIL, Sam has served as the executive director of the Academic Development Institute (ADI) since 1984. He is also the associate director of the Center on School Turnaround and a research associate in the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center. From 2005–2012, he served as the director of the Center on Innovation and Improvement, for which he co-developed Indistar, a web-based school improvement technology, and Indicators in Action, a web-based tutorial for online professional development for educators. Sam is a former high school teacher and college dean and vice-president. He received the Those Who Excel Award from the Illinois State Board of Education in 1990, the Ben Hubbard Leadership Award from Illinois State University in 1994, and the Ernie Wing Award for Excellence in Evidence-Based Education from the California-based Wing Institute in 2012. He has been the executive editor of the School Community Journal since 1991 and was a senior research associate at the Laboratory for Student Success at Temple University from 1995–2005, leading the Lab’s work on comprehensive school reform.

Sam has edited four books on family–school relationships, authored a book on school improvement and personalized learning, edited books on statewide systems of support, and written articles and chapters in the areas of school management, school improvement, school turnaround, and factors affecting school learning. He was a member of the IES expert panel on school turnaround in 2008 and member of the U.S. Department of Education’s contingent to South Korea in 2012, sharing turnaround strategies between the two countries.

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF’s events and policy reports are made possible by the support of a consortium of philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.

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