A traditional classroom environment vs. personalised, self-paced learning

No two human beings are the same, even identical twins will share fundamental differences in their personalities, features, strengths and weaknesses. Different people with different personalities will tackle the same project with different approaches.

Just like no two humans are the same, no two students are alike and therefore they will not learn in the same way or at the same pace. Yet, when it comes to schooling, we approach all learners in a classroom environment with the same teaching methods and timelines, with the focus being on ‘the average student’.

Over the last few years, more and more parents and guardians are choosing a personalised, self-paced and tailored approach to their child’s education, through online learning platforms. Let’s take a closer look at how the traditional approach to education overlooks a child’s unique abilities and how a more targeted and personalised approach can be a far better education solution to help nurture a child’s love of learning.    

What is the traditional classroom approach?

In a traditional classroom setting the teacher is often outnumbered at a ratio of 1:25. For this reason, when the teacher creates her lesson plan for a particular subject, she chooses a plan that will cater for the class average.

Let’s say a Math teacher has four lesson topics to cover over a one month period. She will allocate one lesson per week and will plan to be finished with the course content within four weeks. At the end of each lesson or week, the teacher will progress to the next topic.

How does the traditional classroom approach affect stronger students?

A student who is strong at math and grasps the concepts quickly will finish the lessons before the week is up. This will leave gaps in their learning progress and the strong Math student will be left with extra time, whilst he waits for the class to complete the course content. In these gaps, this student may become bored and may even start to distract the other students, by passing notes or chatting.

If this student was free to work at their own pace, they would be able to complete the material sooner and move on to more advanced topics or other topics that may interest them.

How does the traditional classroom approach affect a more creative student?

A student who shows a higher aptitude in creative or language subjects might not grasp the math concepts as quickly as the previous student we mentioned. This student might need a few extra days to grasp the subject matter but unfortunately, this kind of extra time has not been accounted for in the standard weekly lesson plan. 

Typically, each topic builds the foundation for the next lesson and if a student doesn’t grasp the initial first few lessons, then they struggle to understand the course material in the next module. By the time the class reaches weeks 3 and 4, the creative student is starting to feel despondent as they struggle to understand the more complex lessons as they have not mastered the course content from week 1.

This can often lead to a student starting to feel resentment towards a particular subject or towards school as a whole as they feel inferior to their peers and begin to lack the confidence to participate in class. 

What are the benefits of a personalised learning approach?

The traditional approach to learning doesn’t account for individual abilities and personalised learning pathways. Self-paced, personalised learning allows students to master topics and subject material before moving on to the next topic. This approach allows students to spend more time on subjects that they might struggle with and it also prevents them from being idle or getting bored if they grasp the concepts quickly. 

By promoting a personalised approach to education and doing away with a one-size-fits-all learning environment, CambriLearn’s teaching methods promote increased creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. This helps harness a child’s love of learning, liberates them to pursue their own interests and teaches them how to manage themselves through their education journey. These skills are essential in personal development and will serve them far into their adult lives.

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