Personalized learning is a teaching ideology, a Finnish version of the internationally renowned concept of reversed, or 'flipped' learning. It provides a theoretical framework for how each and every learner can be treated as an individual at a practical level, despite schools often having large and heterogeneous classes.
The model takes into account the key conditions of learning, such as the motivation of the student and the associated feelings of autonomy, ability and relevance of the learning.
The personalized learning model uses practical tools to help students gain more ownership of their learning. The aim is to increase motivation and commitment to learning, acknowledging that the students themselves often have a stronger understanding of what they are capable of and what drives them to succeed. An individual learning path and the associated self assessment is key to this.
The idea of individual learning is easiest to implement when one class teacher works with the same group of students throughout the academic year. Classes have multiple teachers, particularly in different subjects and in large schools, so long-term and deep-seated learning strategies require close co-operation between teachers.
The biggest challenges for personalized learning come from the current institutional culture of schools and from how teaching is organized. The curriculum-based model introduces subjects individually for a short period, two to three times a week.
Setting goals and receiving feedback are essential parts of the learning process. The learning path is a concrete, visualized and easily understandable list of goals designed to guide students from their current level of knowledge towards a higher level of competence. Self-assessment and peer-review, coupled with the learning path, help the student to better understand their own skills and increases their sense of autonomy and ownership in learning.
Pekka Peura began to develop the practical application of the teaching methodology and its theoretical model in 2009, giving high school students a seven week study assignment instead of shorter learning objectives. This proved to be a good practice for both fast and slower learners.