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In the state of Idaho, a dedicated group of people—including 173 teachers, 10,500 students, one catalytic funder, a local university, and a small team from Khan Academy—came together to do something that’s rare in education today: generate widespread excitement for, and adoption of, a different approach to teaching and learning. This case study, sponsored by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, crystalizes lessons from this effort for others who hope to adopt personalized learning approaches and take them to scale.

Top Takeaways

  1. Start with a holistic vision of how personalized learning will improve student outcomes, rather than a focus on implementing technology.
  2. Rather than mandate a one-size-fits-all approach, innovate with teachers and administrators to develop context-specific solutions.
  3. Attract teachers and administrators who are excited to benefit from personalized learning.
  4. Ensure that administrators and IT departments are engaged, because their active support is critical for removing barriers and advocating for teachers.
  5. If you’re going to hold educators accountable, give them the support to be successful.
The partners in Idaho understood that leading change within a complex and fragmented education system required a different approach—one that, if it was to succeed, could not follow a ‘command and control’ model.