Designing for Learning

Teacher leader will support teachers to design learning experiences for their unique context and learners.
Made by Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Learning at USD
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Teacher leader guides educators to plan personalized instruction to facilitate authentic, student-centered, and active learning experiences for all students.

Method Components

“Rigor and care must be braided together, or we run the risk of creating small, nurturing environments that aren’t schools. It’s not enough for teachers to know their students better. That knowledge ought to point to informed instructional decisions and better instructional practices.

...Personalization does not emerge suddenly as a result redesign. Instead, our data point to four evolutionary stages along a personalization continuum. This conceptual framework leads us to anticipate that schools will work through the stages of the continuum until personalization is fully realized and measurably effective in advancing high levels of teaching and learning. We recognize that not all schools will go through the stages in precisely the order we describe. Some will leap ahead in certain categories; others will remain for a time in earlier stages to develop fully foundational elements.”

Lambert, M. B., & Lowry, L. K. (2004). Knowing & Being Known: Personalization as a Foundation for Improving Student Learning.

The Personalization Continuum

Stage One
Teachers become aware of the benefits of personalization. Structures are being put into place to support personalization (see Figure B, page 5 in the research above for examples of this).

Stage Two
Both teachers and students begin to notice a positive difference in relationships. Structures continue to evolve to fit the needs of the school.

Stage Three
Teachers begin to use what they know about their students to inform instructional practice, oftentimes with the support of targeted professional learning. Teachers begin to collect and analyze student data (attendance, test scores, behavior issues, etc.).

Stage Four
Structures continue to be modified to meet the needs of the school community, based on student data analysis. With ongoing professional learning, teachers continue to personalize instruction, meeting their students’ individual needs.

Suggested strategies for planning personalized instruction

Invite the educator to reflect on one or more of the following guiding questions:

  • How do your students learn best?
  • Educators could create a Personal Learning Profile (PLP)
  • How might incorporating personalized instruction into your lessons fit into your professional learning plan, professional development goals, or similar school/district learning tool?
  • How might you be able to adapt lessons to meet diverse students’ needs?
  • What differentiation strategies do you already have in place?
  • How might redesigning your classroom space help meet diverse students’ needs?
  • How can you integrate voice and choice into your learning experiences?
  • How can you design learning experiences to allow students to create their own learning goals?
  • How can/will students demonstrate what they may already know (activating prior knowledge)?

Identify next steps and set up a follow-up meeting to reflect on the effectiveness of facilitating the personalized learning experiences that were planned.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Lambert, M. B., & Lowry, L. K. (2004). Knowing & Being Known: Personalization as a Foundation for Improving Student Learning. Online Submission.

This report includes observations from the first year of a three-year study of seven small high schools in Washington state. It discusses the results schools are beginning to see from knowing students and their learning needs more deeply. Progress to date includes teachers recognizing the need for personalization, designing structures to support personalization, perceiving (along with students) positive differences in relationships, and beginning to talk about and implement changed instructional practices to meet the needs of individual learners.

High potential values drive the commercial sectors toward the rapid development of Personalization Technology. In response to individual needs, personalization in education not only facilitates students to learn better by using different strategies to create various learning experiences, but also caters to teachers’ teaching needs in preparing/designing varied teaching/instructional packages. Empirical results show that using the technologies without regarding pedagogical concepts frequently leads to failure. This paper provides a detailed examination of the opportunities and necessities of Personalized Education (PE) from the perspective of different learning pedagogies. (Fok, 2004)

  • Kitsantas, A., & Baylor, A. (2001). The impact of the instructional planning self-reflective tool on preservice teacher performance, disposition, and self-efficacy beliefs regarding systematic instructional planning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(4), 97-106.

This study investigated the impact of a self-regulatory tool, the Instructional Planning Self-Reflective Tool (IPSRT), on preservice teachers’ performance, disposition, and self-efficacy beliefs regarding systematic instructional planning. Participants enrolled in an introductory educational technology course were taught how to develop an instructional plan as part of the course. Results indicated that the experimental group demonstrated greater skill acquisition, showed more positive disposition, and reported higher perceived instrumentality of instructional planning.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview question

(300-word limit)

  • Please describe your process for guiding educators toward facilitating more personalized learning. Describe interventions a teacher made in their classroom.

Part 2. Work examples/artifacts

Please submit several artifacts that were created while guiding teachers to create personalized learning experiences (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, or other products) including such items as:

  • Educator reflection on how personalized learning has impacted his/her students
  • Educator reflection on successes and challenges associated with facilitating personalized learning
  • Video clip of the meeting with the educator
  • Annotated photos of work resulting from facilitating personalized learning
  • Examples of student work and/or assessments.

Part 3. Reflection

(300-word limit)

Provide a reflection on your experience, using the following questions as guidance:

  • How did personalized learning experiences empower students and/or affect student outcomes?
  • Which aspects of personalization were most difficult for the educator to conceptualize? How can you better support teachers in understanding personalization?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Designing for Learning
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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