A personalized learning plan (PLP) is a goal-setting tool that students build themselves with the help of teachers, counselors, parents, and mentors. The challenge facing most districts is that the importance of PLPs is increasing while creating actionable and relevant PLPs is becoming more difficult.
Why a personalized learning plan is becoming more important
Students have more post-secondary options than ever before. Students are growing increasingly more concerned about their career path and student debt; all culminating into the thought, “is going to college worth it for me?”
With some High Schools currently shifting to remote-learning due to COVID-19, decreased engagement is increasingly becoming a top worry, especially in high-poverty schools.
To combat low levels of engagement and give students a post-secondary direction, educators work with students to develop PLPs.
A 2017 study by the U.S Department of Education found that PLPs were more often used in high-poverty and/or low-graduation districts compared to those with low-poverty and/or high graduation rates.
This study goes on to say that PLPs commonly included students’ post-secondary goals, career goals, and graduation requirements as primary drivers for these learning plans.
PLPs increase student engagement by giving them a personal connection to not only their current educational requirements but to their post-secondary goals.
There are benefits to giving students PLPs, so why isn’t every student on one?
Personalized learning plans are becoming harder to build
At school, students seek advice from and pick their classes with their guidance counselors, but with the average student-to-counselor ratio is 430-1, students can not get immediate, personalized assistance.
Without personalized assistance, students often pick classes that meet minimal graduation requirements. These classes fulfill a purpose, but students could be missing out on opportunities to participate in alternatives like work-based learning, career and technical education, and dual enrollment programs.
These alternatives could help students build foundational learning that can help them reach their post-secondary goals or direct them to an option they did not know they had.
PLPs require even more research and time than many parents, students, and counselors do not have. So, how does this problem get solved?
Solving these problems with personalized career pathfinding
Pathfinding is the process of using content development and artificial intelligence to identify every possible pathway to a given career.
Awato created the first personalized career pathfinding program to address the challenges with personalized learning plans.
Pathfinding pulls together student interests, values, and aspirations to visually show them:
- The direction they currently want to go
- The steps and opportunities along the path
- How today’s actions are going to get them to their goal
- What tomorrow looks like
- How they are doing on their plan
When students can see how their education today is going to impact their goals of tomorrow, they become more engaged in their learning and see a goal past their high school diploma.
Educators and counselors want this information as much as students. When a counselor is able to see a visualization of a student’s self-built path, they are able to offer them more personalized guidance beyond picking classes to graduate.