The concept of personalized learning has garnered much attention in the last few years. Along with healthcare and other sectors that have traditionally focused on blanket solutions in a war of logistics and resource availability, education has become more and more available to even the most underprivileged in our society. The renaissance of online learning and EdTech has made learning accessible to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. However, with huge numbers of students now in reach of and desperate for a good education, the ability for traditional teaching methods to get the most out of students’ is beginning to falter (Or perhaps more accurately, has always been flawed and is only now getting the attention it deserves).
What is personalized learning?
Personalized learning focuses on the individual and tries to tailor teaching methods and curriculum to a student’s “preferred learning style”. Theories behind personalized learning argue that matching a students’ preferred learning style has a beneficial impact on student self-efficacy, belief and learning outcomes (Whether or not learning styles exist or not is a debate for another article). Consider for a moment a math class with students at a variety of skill levels: A teacher must be flexible enough to continue challenging those that grasp the concepts faster while also providing more guidance to those that take more time.
Tailoring teaching methods to individuals can take many forms: simple solutions include flexible seating arrangements in classrooms and building learner profiles that help a teacher assess a student’s strengths and weaknesses in their learning ability. Sometimes teachers take a more laissez-faire approach to personalized learning by allowing students’ to determine what they find the most meaningful and relevant parts of the curriculum to tackle and encouraging students to facilitate their own learning needs. 
What are the challenges in implementing personalized learning?
This method of teaching, however, requires a great deal of time and attention spent on communicating with individual students and preparing course materials designed for different learning styles. At the moment, personalized learning remains niche, implemented predominantly in private institutions with the resources to employ enough teaching staff to have a serviceable ratio of teachers to students.
Some educational institutions admit tens of thousands of students and often have to accommodate hundreds of students in a single course. Tailoring teaching methods for this situation is undoubtedly a huge challenge. Most higher education institutions continue to use traditional lecture-based approaches to teaching because it requires very little setup time, doesn’t require a huge amount of staff and training, and doesn’t require a communication infrastructure between teachers and students. But, more and more schools are implementing smaller class sizes and more involved, tutorial-based approaches to teaching. Tailoring teaching methods becomes much more feasible when teachers can focus on twenty to thirty students at a time.