Innovative learning models provide students with greater engagement, flexibility and control of their learning experience and hence more schools and colleges are seeking them. Some have linked new technology applications to older learning models to create breakthrough innovations:
Competency-based education – Students move through a course at their own pace as they master pre-determined competencies.
Adaptive learning – Sequenced by technology tools that recognize when students have or have not met competencies and present learning materials accordingly — stressing unlearned concepts as needed and moving ahead as appropriate.
Personalized learning – Student-centric model that provides more student choice for evidence of learning and often incorporates adaptive, mastery, and competency-based learning.
National assessments of college readiness show that far too many graduates are not ready for college and careers, despite high school graduation rates having improved. New learning models for high schools that build competencies and skill sets for college and career readiness by focusing on deeper, more engaged learning are the new focus areas of education leaders. Teaching to a classroom of students and focusing on the elusive “average” student is no longer effective when teachers can foster more individualized approaches to teaching that can result in deeper learning and better student engagement with modern teaching tools — computer diagnostic exams, formative assessments, and adaptive content to meet individual students’ needs. Engaged students are more likely to persist in educational tasks until they reach their goal.
Increase retention among traditional students and facilitate college completion for the non-traditional students who have some college but no degree is the goal for new learning models. A college degree will remain unattainable without new learning models for the 29 million Americans qualified to enter college, but for whom family, work and socio-economic circumstances preclude completion of a traditional program. These models can be the difference between a high school dropout and a student well-prepared for college or career for K-12 education.