Individualized Instruction: Definition & Example

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  • 0:04 What is Individualized…
  • 0:44 Who Should Receive It?
  • 1:31 How Do You Develop Goals?
  • 2:21 What Strategies Can You Use?
  • 3:16 Differentiated Instruction
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lesley King

Lesley has taught ESOL for many years, holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and a doctorate degree in Instructional Leadership.

The purpose of this lesson is to define individualized instruction and provide some strategies for implementation. Topics include who can benefit from individualized instruction and how to set learning goals.

What Is Individualized Instruction?

Learners today are very diverse in their academic needs, backgrounds, and abilities. For this reason, it is imperative that we meet them where they are so that we can maximize their learning potential. One way to do this is to utilize individualized instruction.

Individualized instruction refers to the use of strategies, resources, and assessments to meet the needs of one particular learner. It ensures that a student is getting the proper guidance, flexibility, and learning support to expand opportunities for academic growth. A learner's profile gives an educator information that shows both a student's strengths and weaknesses. This information is usually based on different forms of data collection.

Who Should Receive It?

Within a learner's profile, you may find that a student has already qualified for special education services, which usually requires an individualized education program (IEP). Individualized instruction is very common for learners in this group, but varies from student to student.

A student with an IEP may benefit from individualized instruction.
girl, individual

It is important to note that individualized instruction is not only for special education students, but also for students who are more advanced and may need enrichment due to accelerated learning habits. Accelerated learners are usually students who are more academically advanced than their peers. For this reason, they may benefit from a more abbreviated lesson where instruction focuses on core elements of a subject. This allows them to move ahead in the curriculum and explore deeper connections to topics within a lesson.

How Do You Develop Goals?

One way to support individualized instruction is to use the learner's profile to set achievable goals. Learning goals are a way to guide your planning, assessment, and instruction. Consequently, goals should be reflective of a student's learning abilities and efforts so they are attainable. The learner should be included in goal setting, so there will be a sense of ownership in the process.

Another way to ensure that learning strategies are individualized is to include a student's parents when setting goals. This allows you to gain more insight into how to build a strong rapport and meaningful communication with a student. Parental input can also promote communication regarding desires for children's learning outcomes. A few tips to remember about individualized learning goals include:

  • Goals should be particular.
  • Goals should be challenging.
  • Goals should be understandable.

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