“Self-regulation in a Personalized Learning Environment” with Dr. Roland Case

I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Roland Case talk to “Self-regulation in a Personalized Learning Environment” at the Arbutus Club tonight.  He was invited by the PDK Association for another great professional development event.

The biggest thing that came from his strict 20 minutes for me was: “Learners cannot be self directed if they are not self regulated.”

With the Ministry of Education’s Personalized Learning initiative brewing, it was a great teaser to bring about thoughts to help with the troubleshooting and implementation of the movement.  I would hate to see this come in without some serious pre-thought because I think achievement may be difficult for students without proper front loading (and difficult for their parents too), which could very well lead to the scrapping of the idea.  If it is going to come in, lets do it properly and with some good preparation.

The question at this point is what form it will take.  Will personalized learning ultimately be in addition to the content and format that is currently in practice with some modification to the delivery timeline and modes of delivery, or will the content and format of schooling as we know it be altered and customized for individual self direction?

No matter what it is, the message from the event was that students need to be self regulated.  They would also need to be:

educationally engaged

competent in critical, creative, and collaborative inquiry, and not just doing research for factual recall, and

digitally literate.  For this last one, there is definitely a difference between students being able to ‘play’ with the digital technology available to them and using the technology to learn responsibly with.

So what are some ways of achieving self regulated students?  One way, that came up as an example, was a teacher having a huge spoon in the classroom which he/she would grab when a student asked a question out of laziness or begging to be ‘spoon fed’.  (There was much more to that one and a very well thought out process but I will leave it there.)  Otherwise, the following were outlined:

  • 1. Find ways to genuinely engage students. They must buy in. Choice is like the chicken or the egg. Which comes first? Choice alone is not the magic bullet to engaging students.
  • 2. Explicit instruction in an appropriate array of tools.
  • 3. Set up instruction to facilitate self regulated use of strategies. Hopefully kids will start using the strategies spontaneously.
  • 4. Nurture a classroom community that maintains and sustains self regulated behaviour.

From my discussions with others that were at the event, it came up that self regulation is a multi level phenomenon.  It must be in parents and educators in addition to the students.  Of course it is!  As with all movements in education, if all the stakeholder groups are on board, the chances of success are drastically increased.

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