The Joy of Learning: Learning Made Personalized

Posted on July 19, 2016
By Maryam Rod Szabo

Have you ever watched the Bob Ross “The Joy of Painting” series?

When I was watching his instructional videos a few days ago, I was asking myself: “What made his show so unique or even better than a face to face painting class for me?”

In his twenty-first episode of The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross talks about drawing the mountains. He says: “painting is very individual.” He suggests different ideas on how to draw a mountain. Bob demonstrates his skills but sets the learner free to do what they want to do.

There are hundreds of YouTube content creators who create videos to teach what they can do. Many DIY (do it yourself) projects are now shared on different topics every day. Some have thousands of followers. For example; April Wilkerson  shares her experiment while she learns and teaches carpentry. She has nearly 253,000 YouTube followers.

But why do people like DIY projects and follow these channels?

I can think of some of the reasons:

  1. The videos are free, there are many different ways to do a project, and there are many different free media that teach “how to do it” in different ways.
  2. The videos are accessible through many different devices. Also, most of the Youtube content creators who have many followers have subtitles on their videos.
  3. The videos are visual. Learning to do things becomes easier when you see how to do it.
  4. Perfection is minimized and anyone can take as much time as they need to learn and do something. Creators share what they would do differently and their challenges.
  5. The videos can be interactive: creators answer their follower’s questions or comments.
  6. The videos are adaptable: there are many different ways that people are allowed to apply the learned skill.

When we plan a personalized learning experience, it’s great to be aware of the learner’s needs and characteristics, and many different ways to learn and do something. Curating the available content to meet the needs of individuals for learning can create a better experience for our students. On the other hand, it provides opportunities for students to learn anytime, anywhere.

But there is an important point to keep in mind when we adapt the content from different resources, and that is; “Why should a student even attend the class if they can find all the content online or through different resources for free?” This and many similar questions limit how teachers adapt the available, free content; however, I still believe nothing can fill the role of the teacher in a well-designed learning experience. Having hands-on and project-based activities in the class will help students practice and avoid the frustration of learning alone.

A classroom can provide project-based, active learning experience for the students. Students can collaborate, work on projects, and share their learning with their classmates. In a student-centered classroom, the teacher facilitates student’s learning by teaching them how to find reliable resources. Students are responsible for their own learning; therefore, they research, do projects, and actively engage in achieving their learning goals.

How often do you curate content that is created by another person in your teaching? What do you think we should do to provide a valuable experience for students? Let us know and discuss with others below!

Featured image is from Flicker https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: