Implementing personalised learning in New Zealand primary schools Innovative Learning Environments

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Tolmie, Emma
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Cardno, Carol
Howse, Jo
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
secondary schools
personalised learning
Innovative Learning Environments (ILE)
curriculum design and implementation
Tolmie, E. (2016). Implementing personalised learning in New Zealand primary schools Innovative Learning Environments. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Management and Leadership, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
The New Zealand Ministry of Education is requiring that all primary school ‘new builds’ and renovations be Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs), within these there is an expectation that personalised learning is to be implemented. The problem is that there are numerous understandings about the term ‘personalised learning’. This study focuses on school leaders’ and teachers’ understandings of personalised learning, what it looks like in practice, and the challenges in implementing personalised learning in Innovative Learning Environments. An interpretive approach and a qualitative methodology has been employed. The data have been collected through semi-structured interviews and document analysis. A leader and teacher from three Auckland schools who practice personalised learning within their Innovative Learning Environments were interviewed (six interviews in all). Government documents and school documents were analysed. A key finding was that the school educators’ definitions and understandings of the term personalised learning, influenced how personalised learning was implemented in their Innovative Learning Environments. There appears to be confusion over the term personalised learning. School leaders and teachers did not have the same understanding of what personalised learning was. Educators were unanimous in their purpose of personalised learning in ILEs which was to improve student learning outcomes. Two models of deep personalisation were discovered which included systems to track student participation and achievement. Although every educator saw advantages in implementing personalised learning, managing change was the biggest challenge. Conclusions from my study are that leaders must take certain actions to assure the effective implementation of deep personalised learning in Innovative Learning Environments. First the way in which personalised learning is understood and practiced has to be shared by all stakeholders; therefore, leaders must develop a shared vision about definition and practice. The second implication for practice is that change has to be managed collaboratively and leaders and teachers must agree about when and how personalised learning will be implemented. Recommendations are that leaders collaboratively develop a shared vision of what personalised learning is and decide on what model they will adopt as a structure for implementation. As part of the personalised learning model leaders need to design and develop a tracking system to monitor and evaluate student participation and achievement.
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