Foundations for Reinventing the Global Education System: Personalized Learning Supported Through Universal Design for Learning

Foundations for Reinventing the Global Education System: Personalized Learning Supported Through Universal Design for Learning

Ling Zhang (University of Kansas, USA), James D. Basham (University of Kansas, USA) and K. Alisa Lowrey (University of Southern Mississippi, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9775-9.ch008

Abstract

Most contemporary education systems around the world have been following the one-size-fits-all instructional model that is designed to meet the needs of the “average” learners. As many countries are striving to reform education, a new education system that emphasizes and encourages personalization in learning is needed. This chapter argues that a shift is needed from standardizing education to supporting learner variability in personalized learning (PL) environments designed according to Universal Design for Learning (UDL). To contextualize the perspective, the authors introduce the concepts of PL, UDL, and the global educational context in which they are taken from. Taking a pragmatist perspective, they highlight how these concepts can be investigated using design-based research to extend and promote radical growth in the educational system. This chapter concludes with implications for research, policy, and practices for supporting the design and implementation of PL based on UDL.
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Background

In recent years, personalized learning (PL) has emerged as a new education trend which has sparked conversations among scholars from both the general and special education sectors around its potential to address increasingly diverse classrooms (see Abbott et al., 2015; Basham, Hall, Stahl, & Carter, 2016; Wehmeyer et al., 2018). The concept of this emergent and evolving education trend, however, varies among government policies and documents, research articles, organization reports, and newsletters. Its implementation also takes varied forms across education systems and institutions (Peterson, 2016). In essence, PL is conceptualized as an innovative educational approach in tailoring learning to each learner’s strengths, needs and interests as well as enabling learner autonomy in how, what, when, and where students learn (Patrick, Kennedy, & Powell, 2013). This approach also emphasizes flexibility in instruction and learning as well as the central role of learners in the learning process.

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