Classroom Culture for Personalized Learning

Classroom Culture for Personalized Learning

0.50 USBE Credits
This badge focuses on the structure of classroom culture for personalized learning. This includes establishing procedures and routines that foster learning to allow for student choice over time, path, pace, place in their learning. Environment in the classroom is student-centered and student behaviors, actions, and choices include identifying their goals, tracking progress, and being self-directed.


To earn this 0.5 USBE Credit badge, you will submit two evidence items to demonstrate how your classroom culture is personalized for learners. You will also submit a reflection. Click the Learn More button for more information.


Classroom culture for personalized learning is NOT centers, online learning, or technology use. It is not a replacement of the teacher or instruction by a computer. It is not having students do all the same thing at the same time but on individual lists. It is not putting students in tables but still instructing as if in rows.


Personalized Learning : Tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs and interests–including enabling student voice and choice in what, how, when and where they learn–to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible.

Blended Learning: A formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student's learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

Competency-Based Learning : Ten distinguishing features of competency-based education are outlined below. Purpose and Culture: 1. Student success outcomes are designed around preparation for college, career and lifelong learning. 2. District and school make commitment to be responsible for all students mastering learning expectations. 3. Districts and schools nurture empowering, inclusive cultures of learning. Pedagogy: 4. Students receive timely and differentiated instruction and support. 5. Research-informed pedagogical principles emphasize meeting students where they are and building intrinsic motivation. 6. Assessments are embedded in the personalized learning cycle and aligned to outcomes including the transfer of knowledge and skills. Structure: 7. Mechanisms are in place to ensure consistency in expectations of what it means to master knowledge and skills. 8. Schools and districts value transparency with clear and explicit expectations of what is to be learned, the level of performance for master, and how students are progressing. 9. Strategies for communicating progress support the learning process and student success. 10. Learners advance based on attainment of learning expectations (master) through personalized learning pathways.

Framework: Provide a structure or lens through which to consider lesson planning or a view for teaching and learning; help us understand what teaching and learning should or can look like and help us move toward a more meaningful blended instruction. They also provide a common language to help guide and further understanding.

Model: Provide a replicable, content-independent way to describe how students interact with content. They can be implemented at different levels (e.g., school-wide, grade-wide, classroom-specific) depending on the goals of a blended learning initiative.

Student-Centered: A wide variety of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic-support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students and groups of students. To accomplish this goal, schools, teachers, guidance counselors, and other educational specialists may employ a wide variety of educational methods, from modifying assignments and instructional strategies in the classroom to entirely redesigning the ways in which students are grouped and taught in a school.

Classroom Cuture: The beliefs, perceptions, relationships, attitudes, and written and unwritten rules that shape and influence every aspect of how a classroom functions, but the term also encompasses more concrete issues such as the physical and emotional safety of students, the orderliness of classrooms and public spaces, or the degree to which a school embraces and empowers students.


Johnny walks into Ms. Smith's class and immediately checks his board to see what he will work on. Ms. Smith has assigned each student a playlist to work on for the first portion of class. Students are able to choose multiple ways to demonstrate their learning. Johnny sees that he is ready to take an assessment so he writes his name on the board next to three other students. Ms. Smith, after checking with those students, opens the assessment.
Ms. Smith is walking around the room checking with students on their work as well as monitoring the data from the assessments. Part of what Ms. Smith is doing as she checks with students is to help with their work, to have them reflect on how they think they are doing, and to make notes on adjustments to her instruction. One of her notes is about an item she will include in a playlist in the future that was suggested by several students. During this time she models self-reflection and student-driven learning whenever possible to continue that culture within her classroom. When the chime sounds, students know that they have 5 more minutes before the next transition. Many students take this time to reflect on their goal and make an entry into their progress tracker.
Johnny finishes his assessment and meets with Ms. Smith for reflection and setting a new goal. When the music plays students move to a station to work on a collaborative activity, an online activity, an online discussion, and a teacher-led station. When the chime sounds, students know they have 5 minutes before the next transition. When the music plays, students move to the next station clockwise around the room. Johnny first goes to the collaborative activity station. There are instructions and materials listed and in a basket. When he and the others in his group are ready to leave the station, all materials are returned to the basket. Ms. Smith has strategically divided the students into groups for the station rotation so that students are able to interact according to (skill level, interest, strengths in group dynamic, learning preferences). At one point during rotations, Ms. Smith needs the attention of the whole class, so she flips the lights on and off 2 times. The students pause in their work and turn their attention to her for instructions.
At the end of class time is allotted for reflection and for progress tracking. Ms. Smith has also taken time during the class to look at the data and progress of each student to make adjustments in either playlists for the next day, grouping for rotations, re-teaching opportunities or student check-ins. She plans for direct instruction when needed.


Video: Submit a 5-8 min video showing personalized learning in your classroom, including routines and procedures. This video should demonstrate that your instruction provides learner choice in path, place, pace, or time; includes learners identifying their learning goals and tracking progress; and supports an environment that allows learners to be self-directed. Video should follow FERPA and your district or charter guidelines for student privacy.

Lesson Plan: Submit a lesson plan you have used in your instruction that demonstrates how you personalize learning. The lesson plan should show how your instruction provides learner choice in path, place, pace, or time; includes learner identifying their learning goals and tracking progress; and supports an environment that allows learners to be self-directed.

Testimonial: Submit video-taped testimonials from 3-5 learners that include them discussing how your classroom culture of personalized learning is student-centered, allows for choice, and is engaging. Video should follow FERPA and your district or charter guidelines for student privacy.

Observation Results: Submit the results of an observation by a colleague or administrator indicating that your classroom culture of personalized learning includes learner choice in path, place, pace, or time in their learning. These observation results can be written or video-recorded.

Candidate's Choice: Submit another type of evidence demonstrating the classroom culture you have developed to support personalized learning.

Review Criteria

Evidence demonstrates that routines and procedures are in place that foster learning and demonstrate the culture of the classroom with student choice over pace, path, place, or time.Evidence demonstrates student behaviors, actions, and choices that show the culture of the classroom is consistent with personalized learning, such as student-centered instruction; student choice over pace, path, place, or time; students identifying their goals and tracking their progress; and environment that allows for students to be self-directed.


  1. Describe what personalized learning looks like in your classroom or learning environment. Be sure to describe how you build in elements of choice around time, place, path, and pace for learning.

  2. Explain how your learners benefit from the personalized learning environment that you have created.

  3. Detail how you plan to strengthen the personalization of your instruction in the future.

Review Criteria

The reflective analysis indicates the teacher understands a definition of personalized learning that addresses student choice over time, place, path, or pace of their learning.The reflective analysis indicates the teacher has structured the classroom environment to allow for student choice over time, place, path, or pace of their learning.


Are you Teacher-centered, Learner-centered, or both? by Bernard Bull
In much contemporary education, there is a growing trend toward praising the benefits of learner-centered versus teacher-centered education, but what do we actually mean by those terms? This article answers the question.

Blended Learning Definitions from The Christensen Institute
This short article from the Christensen Institute describes a number of different blended learning models.

Blended Learning in Action: A Practical Guide Toward Sustainable Change by Catlin Tucker, Tiffany Wycoff, Jason T. Green
Find it on
Blended Learning has the power to reinvent education, but transitioning to a blended model is challenging. Blended learning requires a fundamentally new approach to learning as well as a new skill set for both teachers and school leaders. Loaded with research, examples, and resources, Blended Learning in Action demonstrates the advantages a blended model has over traditional instruction when technology is used to engage students both inside the classroom and online. This is a resource teachers and leaders need to help them shift to a blended learning model and transform education for the 21st century.

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools by Heather Staker and Michael Horn
Find it on
Blended is a practical field guide for implementing blended learning techniques in K-12 schools. It is intended not only to be a resource for those wanting to make significant changes in their schools, but also an eye opener for people who feel content with what they have. Readers will find step-by-step framework upon which to build a more student-centered educational system along with real-world advice for creating the next generation of K-12 learning environments.

Bold School: Old School Wisdom + New School Technologies = Blended Learning That Works by Weston Kieschnick
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Technology is awesome. Teachers are better. Blending new technologies into instruction is a non-negotiable if we are to help our students gain these skills they will need to thrive in careers. And so too is educators' old school wisdom in planning intentional blended learning that works: Bold school thinkers embrace Blended pedagogies and Old school wisdom. In Bold School blended learning is demystified and distilled into the powerful, yet simple Bold School Framework for Strategic Blended Learning to help you enhance your instruction and learning.

Defining and Differentiation Personalized Learning, Blended Learning and Competency Education from Getting Smart
This article seeks to define personalized learning, blended learning, and competency education. The articles outlines the differences and overlap in these three commonly used terms.

Power Up Blended Learning: A Professional Learning Infrastructure to Support Sustainable Change by Catlin R. Tucker
Find it on
This book provides an effective and actionable framework for school leaders looking to implement a long-term professional learning plan that extends professional development beyond a handful of days each year to create a 'coaching culture' that supports teachers as they move toward blended learning.

Six Examples of What Personalized Learning Looks Like
Article showing six examples of what personalized learning looks like in the classroom. This article follows the four core elements of targeted instruction, data-driven decisions, flexible content, and student reflection and ownership.

Stages of Personalized Learning Environments by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey
This infographic delineates the stages of personalized learning implementation to help you identify where you currently are, and what the next steps might be.

Structuring the Classroom for Personalized Learning
This Canvas course was created by Davis School District and is open to all educators in Utah. This is a self-paced learning experience that will introduce you to Personalized Learning. In this course, participants will learn about personalized and blended learning, explore models and frameworks, and view examples from Davis School District. This course is designed to give participants an understanding of personalized and blended learning along with effective strategies to start doing personalized learning in their classroom. Included in the course will be quizzes to check your knowledge of the content. You will need to score 100% on each quiz. You will be allowed to take the quiz until you score 100%. Use the provided link to register for the course.

What is Personalized Learning- article from iNACOL
This iNACOL article defines and describes personalized learning, providing a number of examples and models.


Kimberley Eschler
Kimberley Eschler
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Hollie Fisher
Kimberly Harmon
Kimberly Harmon
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Alexa Jensen
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Ashtin Johnson
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Jodi Searle
Kristin Smith
Kristin Smith


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