Due to changing market requirements, there was a demand for quality education among different learning institutions. Students’ performance in schools was below the required standard and thus prompting the community to come with a method that will provide a solution. It was found that most learning procedures were generally determined by teachers who would follow a particular recommended curriculum. This curriculum was defined to students’ means and learning procedures, most of which were not appreciated. Therefore, it was necessary to allow students to decide which procedures will make them comfortable and motivated towards success.
Individual learning plans
The usage of the term effective, in relation to individual learning plan, indicates adequate use of skills which were previously acquired. Through ILP, a learner is trained to be active and motivated to work harder. ILP provides a flexible plan that guides the learner’s journey, where it is also a dynamic document, which is owned by the learner and at the same time appreciated by teachers and employees (Sheerman, 2005, pp. 19-23). The document contains goals that a learner desires to achieve, showing progressive results from initial to final stages. ILP provides a channel through which a learner and his supporters communicate. In that sense, it is a critical way of reinforcing connections between different subjects and topics, as well as enhancing thinking capabilities of an individual.
Practically, learners will use individual learning plans to record achievements in their learning process, plan what they desire to achieve, and establish the time and the method which defines the criteria that will be used by learners to ensure success. This success can be achieved through the use of resources, learning materials, details of learning methods, review of learning techniques and various amendments to the plan (Johnson, 2008, pp. 12-17). Using ILP, the learner is responsible for his or her learning process, where the learner will be able to recognise the value of past learning experience, embrace new experiences and learn how both affect the progress. ILP enables the learner to gain confidence by applying skills acquired at school, home and community. The learner might face different learning obstacles which require support in overcoming them and personally measuring their level of success.
ILP is not only helpful to the learner, but also to staff members, where it helps them critically understand the learner, as they respond to their needs. ILP enables them to assess learners’ progress and provide necessary tutorial needs. Teachers are able to inspect through various learning methods used by the learner, provide them with the necessary advice for success, and organize opportunities for the learners, which will help them apply the acquired skills.
An individual learning plan is a personal document outlined by the learner. In that sense, the role of teachers is simply to explain to learners what is generally required along with the procedures that can be used by learners to make a workable plan. (Petty, 2004, pp. 11-15) The ILP is outlined by the learner after reviewing the various options and opportunities, which are available to him. It should not be an excessive plan with the purpose of merely pleasing the reader. Mainly, it should clearly enumerate the executable procedures, which will assist the learner to achieve higher goals. Through the implementation of such a plan, the learner will be able to control oneself and ensure that everything is being done at the required time.
ILP brings the learner to work towards fulfilling particular goals by assessing the best means, which will enable him to achieve these goals. During the process, the learner shall be able to know whether the plan is working for hisher good or not. In that regard, ILP is a flexible document, which can always be reviewed by the learner for practicability. Teachers are able to use such plan to assist the students to achieve the formulated goals. Using such scheme, the learner will be able to effectively manage own time and achieve commendable results.
Through using ILPs, the teachers are able to understand different leaning methods preferred by the learner, and subsequently employ them (Reece, 1997, pp. 34-39). Compared to traditional systems, where teachers determine the learning process of the student, ILPs give students a chance to design their own plan, which they believe will help them achieve positive results. In that sense, teachers were not able to choose convenient learning methods, which would be appropriate for all students. There was a general assumption that students had similar academic needs, which prevented most of them from achieving the required objectives. The students felt that they were under pressure to work according to their teachers’ expectations, and thus eventually satisfying their teachers, rather than themselves.
ILPs enabled teachers to recognise and realise the weaknesses they had in dealing with students. They realised the amount unnecessary pressure they were placing on students, thereby failing to motivate them in their learning. Their work became even easier, since they do not have to make plans for their students. Now, all they are required to do is examining students’ plans and help them where necessary. The students were also given the chance to exercise their skills by experiencing different environments, where they are able to interact with different people and gain the necessary experience.
Since the introduction of ILPs, the performance of students and teachers was praiseworthy. Many obstacles, which were hindering them from performing, were eliminated (Downey, 2008, pp. 23-25). The learning processes became flexible and more interesting. The communication between students and teachers, which is a vital factor for success, was enhanced. Students are now responsible for their successes and failures. Accordingly, ILP provided the solution to blaming dilemma, where students who were unable to reach their goals would blame their teachers and vice versa. The students started to realise that success is determined by how much effort they personally invest in their studies. The ILP enabled the learner to test different learning techniques over a particular period of time and subsequently choose the one that seems to be most appropriate.
With positive impacts that ILPs had on students, who have embraced it, the system should be encouraged by all learning institution. It is necessary for the administrators to understand that using a learning procedure that is not appreciated by students may not be of much help to them. Students need to be given a chance to express and demonstrate what they believe will work for them. Not all students may feel comfortable when a certain learning system is imposed on them by the administration, where they simply follow it because they are required to. When such students are unable to achieve required goals, they blame their teachers and the administration for what they might refer to as ‘poor teaching method’. With ILP, such issues are eliminated and students are motivated towards achieving their established goals. Schools which were not able to receive positive results from their students are advised to adequately employ ILP in their institutions. (Downey, 2008, pp. 26-28)
- Downey, J 2008, ‘50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap’, Corwin Press, pp. 23-28
- Johnson, J 2008, ‘Introduction to Teaching’, Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 12-17
- Petty, G 2004, ‘Teaching today: a practical guide’, Nelson Thornes, pp. 11-15
- Reece, I 1997, ‘Teaching, Training and Learning’, Business Education, pp. 34-39
- Sheerman, B 2005, ‘National Skills Strategy’, The Stationery Office, pp. 19-23