Personalized Learning in Competency-Based Education

Personalized learning is all about creating a classroom where students are not taught through the conventional “one size fits all” educational approach. In this, the teacher guides each student through a customized learning, based on their individual interests, skills, and needs. This allows students to learn at their own pace and work towards achieving the class’ overall academic outcomes. Personalized learning is an integral part of competency based education (CBE).

The competency based education approach focuses on developing the students’ skills and capabilities. This is in contrast to conventional education methods, that are completely focused on evaluating the students’ memorization and rota-learning skills. Project based learning (PBL) is an essential element of competency based teaching. It lets students learn necessary competencies by completing assignments with real-world situations and challenges that are faced in the professional world. 

In this blog, we will dive deeper into personalized learning and competency based education. We will also understand how personalized learning fits with competency based education techniques.

What Is Personalized Learning?

Personalized learning is a teaching method based on the assumption that children learn in different ways and pace. In this, every student follows a customized education plan created according to their individual learning style and speed. It is designed keeping in mind the student’s specific needs, skills, interests, and attributes. The personalized learning method is the exact opposite of conventional teaching, which takes a comprehensive approach to teaching the entire class. 

Students and teachers collaborate deeply to set short-term and long-term educational outcomes under personalized learning. This way, students are encouraged to become more responsible and accountable for their learning progress and performance. 

Teachers ensure effective personalized learning by using project based learning methods. These PBLs are aligned with individual students’ learning goals and ensure they match the pre-determined academic and teaching standards. The teachers also frequently evaluate every student’s progress to ensure they are demonstrating the competencies they are expected to learn.

An effective personalized learning approach needs to have supportive, accommodating, and accessible learning strategies. When applied properly, personalized learning keeps students more engaged in their education. In addition, this teaching method also ensures that students who are struggling with academics also get effective support for improvement. 

How Personalized Learning Works?

Personalized learning does not have a pre-set or specific pedagogy. This means that no two schools that use personalized learning approach will have the same outcome. 

However, there are four models of personalized learning that are most commonly used worldwide. Each of these models aligns the student’s learning to a set of strict educational standards and sets high expectations. 

These are the four most prominent models of personalized learning – 

  • Learner Profile Model

This model of personalized learning focuses on teaching using student’s detailed data by creating a learner profile. This profile contains information, such as strengths, weaknesses, motivations, goals, etc.Teachers constantly keep updating these profiles which helps teachers to provide improved and enhanced learning experiences to students. 

  • Learner Path Model

This personalized learning model focuses on providing the most effective path of learning for students. This personalzied path of education adapts and responds to the student’s goals, motivations, and progress. It involves using project based learning methods for effective progress evaluation.

  • Competency-based Model

Schools often use a competency-based progression model of personalized learning. This model involves teachers constantly monitoring student progress toward pre-determined learning goals. This helps students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them in terms of academic progress.

  • Flexible Learning Model

This model of personalized learning requires teachers to alter the overall educational environment of the class. This adaptation is based on how well students learn, and includes changing the layout of the classroom, schedules, and teachers. This also includes using comprehensive project based learning methods for added efficiency in learning progress. 

How are Personalized Learning and Competency Based Education Connected?

Competency based education method focuses on teaching students the necessary skills and capabilities that are required in professional careers. It usually involves using personalized learning methods to cultivate the required competencies in students. Hence, competency based education can be called a type of personalized learning but not necessarily the other way around.

Students who learn using CBE tend be more accountable and aware of their academic performance and progress. 

Here are a few points that show how personalized learning relates to competency based education – 

  • Students set their own academic goals 
  • Students track their educational progress
  • Students receive resources and support from teachers 
  • Course completion and grades are determined by demonstrating skills
  • Students get several opportunities to advance
  • Teachers frequently give feedback to help students improve all-round performance 
  • Students can choose assessment and evaluation methods 

Hence, competency based education provides students a more relevant and rewarding way of learning, similar to personalized learning. 


Competency based education and personalized learning are similar and have strong links to each other. The former uses individually tailored teaching methods, while the latter also does the same. Hence, it is safe to say that personalized learning is an essential part of competency based teaching, though personalized learning may not always be similar to CBE.

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