Creating & Using Personal Learning Profiles for Students

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson we will discuss how to create and use personal learning profiles for students. We will cover what these profiles should include and how that information can enhance an individualized approach to reaching students.

And So It Begins...

Twenty strangers flood into the room on the first day of school and YOU have to know who they are before you can teach them what they need to know. How can you possibly get to know their learning styles and personalities well enough to make sure their needs are being met? Surely there is an efficient way to get all this information quickly so you can be a more effective and efficient instructor. Just like your LinkedIn and Facebook and (dare I say) online dating, you need their profiles!

Creating Personal Learning Profiles

A learning profile is a summary of some important characteristics about your students and will benefit students of all ages and teachers of any subject. There are several kinds of information you want to know about a student so you can be the best instructor possible. What is their learning style? What are their interests? Who are the people in their home life outside the classroom? What are their personalities like?

Much of this information comes gradually over the course of the semester, but it would be so much easier if each student had a cheat sheet you can refer to when you need to quickly access the information. This will save space in your brain for the content you want to teach and help you more efficiently get to know this class full of strangers.

Learning Styles

Many students have different preferences for how they receive the information you want to teach them. Some students need to read the material and write it down or take notes (Visual). Some students want to hear the content in a lecture or discussion (Auditory). Other students like to be more hands-on and work on projects related to the content (Kinesthetic). Some students work best on their own and others prefer group work.

In a differentiated instruction model, the goal is to reach a diverse group of learning styles and so using a variety of these different methods is critical to reaching all students. While there are many ways to assess a student's learning style, it is also important to find out what the student prefers, in addition to what actually works best for them.

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