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Make Learning Personal

Make Learning Personal
The What, Who, WOW, Where, and Why

October 2014 | 288 pages | Corwin

Click here for a press release about the book!

Put learning back into the hands of the learner!

Through personalized learning, education as we know it is transformed as learners are empowered to take control of their own learning. This thorough and timely resource draws on Universal Design for Learning® principles to create a powerful shift in classroom dynamics by guiding learners to become self-directed, self-monitoring, and self-motivated.  You’ll discover:


  • A system that includes tools and strategies to reduce barriers and maximize learning for all learners
  • A clear explanation distinguishing personalized learning from differentiation and individualized instruction
  • Teachers’ personal stories of moving through the Stages of Personalized Learning Environments to transform teacher and learner roles and school culture
  • Background information on developing a rationale on why to personalize learning
  • Strategies to create the change that occurs with the culture shift that happens in classrooms and schools as you personalize learning.

Recognized authorities in personalized learning, the authors have led educational innovation for almost three decades.

"As an educator for more than 30 years, I have seen a myriad of ideas to improve education. Personalized learning could truly be the game-changer! Barbara and Kathleen have certainly done their homework in clearly defining what it means to personalize learning. They identify stages that can help teachers gradually adapt their role, moving from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-driven environment. This book will serve as a valuable handbook as educators make the decision to empower their learners!"
- Betty Wottreng, Director of Technology Services, Verona Area School District, Wisconsin



1. What is Personalized Learning?
2. Who Are Your Learners?
3. Wow! Teacher and Learner Roles Are Changing
4. Where Is Personalized Learning Happening?
5. Why Personalize Learning?
6. Your Turn to Personalize Learning

"Many books claim to be about learning - few live up to the claim: this is one of the few. It addresses the key focus for changing classrooms: the culture and language.With many important and useful clarifications and distinctions, it helps the move from today’s dominant depersonalized classrooms toward greater learner motivation, engagement and achievement.It is packed with a rich range of examples from US and elsewhere, and a great model of the journey of change, including teachers’ stories.The authors have considerable expertise in this territory; this book deserves to become a considerable resource for improving classrooms."

Chris Watkins, Reader in Education
University of London Institute of Education

"Barbara and Kathleen are pioneers in personalized learning. This book will provide the clarity and direction many are looking for to focus their classrooms on personalizing instruction."

Kecia Ray, Executive Director Learning Technology and Library Services
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools

"In an age of educational upthrow, one of the major themes emerging is that of personalization. And while this concept can connote many different models of instruction, Bray and McClaskey do an excellent job of making the case for a framework that is pedagogically appropriate, research-based, and theoretically sound. Make Learning Personal makes the case for a personalization pedagogy, replete with ideas and examples that paint a canvas of possibilities for today’s classroom teacher. The graphics, charts and support resources are well-designed, helpfully structured, and ready for practical application in the classroom. Through this book, educators have a helpful companion that augments their experience and expertise in transforming their classroom to meet the needs of our children as they prepare for their roles in the global knowledge econ"

Walter McKenzie, Educational Leader, Writer and Speaker
Washington, D.C.

"Many schools acknowledge that personalizing learning is of the utmost importance; every child is an individual, so the learning we provide them should take this into account. Make Learning Personal is a book that demonstrates how to ensure a personalized learning approach can happen in your school. It draws on the experiences of many experienced educators from different parts of the world and its authors have crafted a book that every school should go to for ideas and inspiration. Bray and McClaskey are passionate about personalizing learning and this book will start you on that very same journey."

Kevin McLaughlin, Primary Teacher
Old Mill Primary School, Leicester, UK

"Make Learning Personal should be on the top of every educator’s professional reading list. From concept to conclusion, this book is a landmark resource that will inspire and support educators around the world to liberate school culture so that all learners can become self-directed, independent, expert learners. Bray and McClaskey provide compelling and comprehensive research-based rationale about why there needs to be a cultural shift to working in partnerships with all learners. What sets their work apart are the authentic examples and proven practical and achievable processes that educators can implement to make the shift to success made through working in partnership. As such, this book is a resource that you will delve into over and over again as your transformational learning journey evolves."

Greg Alchin, Learning Experience Designer
Orange, New South Wales, Australia

"Personalizing Learning is the key to reforming public education and is a hot topic nation-wide. In the last two weeks I’ve spoken at a statewide conference and on two webinars, sharing experiences of over ten years in personalizing learning. At each event, I share the exciting news of this fabulous new book: Make Learning Personal. In it, Barbara and Kathleen provide more than theoretical background, offering guidance for the requisite cultural change necessary to transform both teachers and students to become co-learners. Finally, someone has made clear the distinctions between Personalization, Differentiation and Individualization. Barbara and Kathleen’s chart has become the go-to resource for this critical understanding. Personalized learning shifts the responsibility for learning to the students; in my school we like to say, “The person who does the work is the person who does the learning.” If the teacher is working harder than the student, something is out of kilter. Grounded in Universal Design for Learning and the belief that all learners can succeed, this book provides the structure and the moral courage to affect meaningful change in schools across the country."

Lauren Kelley Parren, Innovation Coach
Bristol, VT

"How do we create a school culture where students own their learning? Where being a learner is more valuable than being a student? Personalizing learning for each student seems like a daunting task, but this book is filled with examples from multiple grade levels that will help any naysayer understand not only why we need to do this, but how it can be done. This is not about adaptive learning, but rather a sensible approach to teachers purposefully designing learning with each learner in mind, based on what we now know about how the brain works. Whether you are a classroom teacher, school administrator, or district leader, Bray & McClaskey have taken a complex process and broken it down into doable steps for you. You will learn about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) process, which helps teachers to systematically “reduce or eliminate the barriers that keep learners from learning.”


Bray and McClaskey recognize that change is hard, and provide a sensible 3-tiered approach to help move any classroom, school, or district towards personalizing learning for each learner. Even for teachers who are in schools and districts that aren't ready to make this change, there are ideas and processes to start moving in this direction. The first step is recognizing that each learner is unique and learns in different ways and at different paces. This is a book written in easy-to-understand language that will provide educators with the justification for adopting a personalized approach to learning, and provides the road map to get there. I will definitely purchase multiple copies to share with our district leaders, and plan to lead a book study next year!"

Nancy White, 21st Century Learning & Innovation Specialist
Academy School District 20, Colorado Springs, CO

"One of the biggest issues with personalized learning is the lack of common understanding about exactly what it means to personalize learning. While some are talking about personalization, what others are referring to is actually individualization or differentiation. This book is THE handbook for all educators, administrators, and community members as it provides the essential background and language needed to understand how to help learners take ownership of their own learning. Each section – the what, who, wow, where, and why – provides extensive research and examples that explain why learners need to be provided with authentic voice and choice. It’s time to get the students off the “stage” of school and help them to become lifetime motivated and engaged learners!"

Laura Lindquist, Educational Technology Coordinator and Personalized Learning Coach
Verona Area School District, Verona, WI

"Too many in education believe that “personalized” is a synonym for “individualized” or “differentiated,” thus enabling them to feel current while justifying outdated, teacher-centered approaches. After reading this book, educators will never look at their jobs the same way again."

Fred Bramante, President
National Center for Competency-Based Learning

"As an educator for more than 30 years, I have seen a myriad of ideas to improve education, many of which have been met with mixed results. I believe that personalized learning could truly be the game-changer! Barbara and Kathleen have certainly done their homework in clearly defining what it means to personalize learning. They identify stages that can help teachers gradually adapt their role, moving from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-driven environment that is truly transformational. This book will serve as a valuable handbook as educators make the decision to empower their learners!"

Betty Wottreng, Director of Technology Services
Verona Area School District, Verona, WI
Key features
  • Authored by two well known experts in personalized learning
  • Clearly explains what personalized learning is and how it differs from differentiated instruction and individual instruction
  • Covers the three stages of personalized learning implementation
  • Filled with activities, models, and examples; backed by research 
  • Book supports webinar and online courses created by authors

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