How to Personalize Learning (Book Study Guide)
A Practical Guide to Getting Started and Going Deeper

How can you develop agency to become a self-regulated, expert learner?

In personalized learning environments, learners understand their strengths and challenges and are able to deploy learning strategies to support their learning.  On a daily basis, they are developing the skills to be self-directed, self-regulated learners who are able to monitor their progress and make connections with prior learning. These learners can choose and use the appropriate technologies for the task and are motivated by mastering their own learning.  If learners continue to learn in these environments, the anticipated results will be learners with  agency who are truly prepared for their future, college, career, and life.  For a post defining learner agency, click on the image.


We have a sense of ‘agency’ when we feel in control of things that happen around us; when we feel that we can influence events. This is an important sense for learners to develop. Learners must understand:

  • when they need new learning and how to learn what they need

  • when they need to unlearn what will no longer serve them

  • when they need to relearn what they need to be successful



  1. Where are your learners in the Continuum of Voice?

  2. What can you do to encourage moving from Expression to Consultation and beyond?

  3. How do you see learners having a voice in a partnership role with teachers?


  1. Where are your learners in the Continuum of Choice?

  2. What can you do to encourage moving from Participant to Co-Designer and beyond?

  3. How do you see learners using choice as a designer of their own learning?

  4. How can you see learners becoming advocates of their own learning?

Engagement [new]

  1. Consider when you were engaged in learning, what do you remember about the experience?

  2. What words you would use to describe the activity?

  3. What does engagement look like in your classroom(s)?

  4. What are you doing now to encouarge learners to be engaged in the learning process?

  5. How could you fashing learning activities so learners are challenged and matched to their level of skill?


  1. How could you encourage learners to be active and interested in the learning process?

  2. How can you inspire learners to be more motivated to learn if they are only taking the class because they “have to?”

  3. What do you do with apathetic learners?

  4. How can you encourage learners to be invested in their learning?


  1. How can you encourage learners to be more responsible for their learning?

  2. How does having choices allow learners to have more ownership of their learning?

  3. Why is it important for learners to own their learning?

Purpose [new]

  1. How can you guide learners to determine their purpose for learning?

  2. How could you connect academic efforts with real-world authentic activities?

  3. How can you create a learning environment so learners invest time and energy not in what is, but what can be?


  1. How can you guide learners to to build self-confidence about their learning?

  2. What can you do to help learners avoid being distracted while they learn?

  3. How can you encourage learners to take risks and demonstrate understanding beyond what is expected for a lesson?

Graphics design of the Continuums by Sylvia Duckworth @sylviaduckworth