Personalized Learning: The Key to Retention, Engagement, and Mastery

When learning is tailored to an individual’s strengths and is focused on his or her success, the learner is more likely to actively engage in his or her education.

Advancements in educational technology have paved the way for personalized learning. Personalized learning is a diverse variety of educational programs, instructional approaches, and learning experiences that are tailored directly to the learning needs of individual students. Personalized learning is about providing the right resource at the right time for each student to enable him or her to engage and solve problems.

The Challenge

Teachers have been trying to increase student engagement for years. Today’s classrooms struggle with retiring the traditional lecture model, out-of-date material, and other distractions that contribute to low levels of student engagement. Instructors want to unlock a student’s potential, but need resources to help them engage with students on an individual level. Classes are made up of students with varying levels of skill and comprehension, yet instructors often teach their entire class at the same speed, with the same methodology.

Advanced students may be prevented from reaching their full potential because they have to learn at the pace of their remedial classmates, and struggling students may fail to master a concept if they don’t fully grasp the foundational skills at the pace of the rest of the class. When the instructor begins teaching advanced concepts, struggling students are left behind without the tools they need to catch up.

Remembering vast quantities of information is challenging. We listen and we try to remember, but 90 percent of the material we consume is forgotten within a week. It is widely known that repetition is linked to retention, but which concepts and lessons need to be repeated, and how many times, depends on the student. A teacher can’t repeat concepts for individual students without slowing down the pace of the entire class.

Personalized learning is more impactful when students can apply their new skills and knowledge to truly develop new skills that stick with them. Personalized learning can solve these problems for instructors and increase the quality a student’s education.

A Solution

The ability to go over the concepts you forget, at your own pace, is essential to beat the Forgetting Curve. Online instructional videos give students the opportunity to independently review lessons and solidify concepts without holding up their classmates.

Learning can occur in a multitude of ways. Most learners can be put into three categories: v

  • Visual Learners
  • Auditory Learners
  • Kinesthetic Learners

Traditionally, classrooms have catered to auditory learners because of the lecture-dominated traditional class style. Technology that is incorporated into the classroom provides visual and kinesthetic learners with video and interactive lessons that fit their style of learning. The “flipped classroom model” allows an instructor to demonstrate the real-world application of concepts, and engage students with in-class projects. Students view video lectures, complete exercises, and take quizzes outside of class, which enables educators to focus on engaging students with projects and hands-on activities during class.

For teachers, progress tracking can be used to assess student performance and lesson effectiveness. Educational metrics such as video consumption rate, test scores, and assignment competition allow teachers to pinpoint struggling students and succeeding students. An instructor may see a specific concept a student is struggling with, and help him or her master that concept before he or she is left behind. On the other hand, teachers also can identify students who are excelling in class and help them take their skills to the next level, while keeping them engaged and interested.


Personalized learning improves a learner’s ability to retain information, increases engagement, and motivates a student to master tough concepts. When learning is tailored to an individual’s strengths and is focused on his or her success, the learner is more likely to actively engage in his or her education. Engaged students are motivated to set goals and envision their future. Teachers now have more tools than ever that enable them to teach learners on an individual level, giving them personalized attention that shapes the minds of the future.

Jason Wright is the co-founder and head of Content Development at SolidProfessor, an online learning company focused on tools used in engineering design. Sign up for a free account at