Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2020

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.

Department

Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Ingle, W. Kyle

Committee Member

Powers, Deborah

Committee Member

Davis, B. Keith

Committee Member

Stevens, Douglas

Author's Keywords

personalized learning; student perceptions; instructional strategy; instructional pedagogy

Abstract

This case study explored student perceptions of the implementation of personalized learning as a means of supporting student engagement and improved student outcomes. A review of research revealed a mismatch between the current instructional pedagogy utilized and the needs identified by the workforce. The world has evolved rapidly while education has slowly evolved, creating an ever-increasing relevance gap for students. We have transitioned to a global society and innovations in technology have led the way. Today’s workforce requires students to have soft skills and competencies to be able to think critically, problem solve, develop resiliency, be innovative and creative, communicate effectively, collaborate effectively, and lead for change. These post- secondary skills require educators to think differently about the practices utilized in schools to prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist. The purpose of personalized learning is to empower students and to offer a student-centered environment designed to meet the varying needs of today’s learners. While the body of research on personalized learning continues to grow, there is a lack of research on the perceptions and roles students play in the implementation process. In order to understand the importance of student agency, voice, and choice in the student experience, this case study explored student perceptions of personalized learning. I drew upon data collected from three sources: a student survey, student interviews, and documents pertaining to district- and school-level curriculum and instruction. The interviews provided insight into each student’s unique perspective on their experience throughout the implementation process of personalized learning. As I reviewed the comments aligned with the selective codes and reflected as to how they answered the research questions, the transition students have experienced from the traditional to the personalized learning approach is evident. This study shows that successful implementation of personalized learning is heavily dependent on the capacity of the teachers involved in the implementation process. Students indicated the need to address potential implementation issues; most notably, the inconsistencies and differences among teachers throughout the implementation process. This points directly to implications for practice to mitigate these differences and to foster a more inclusive and productive learning environment for all students. Oftentimes we do not give students the credit they deserve for understanding the impact of the classroom and school environment on their learning process. Students are extremely intuitive as demonstrated through their responses, and this study reveals the importance of including their voice in the process of improving the learning experience for all students.

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