Individualized Learning Plans (often referred to as “ILPs”) describe the technique of personalizing education to fit every individual student’s needs. Individualized Learning Plans take a student’s strengths, weaknesses and learning styles into consideration and—at times—a student’s home-life situation and personality can also be taken into consideration. Individualized Learning Plans aim to engage students in learning and keep them interested in (and motivated to complete) their education by tailoring lessons to fit their specific wants and needs.
Human beings are individuals and not everyone learns the same way or has the same mental strengths. It is still unknown why certain people have natural understanding of math or can write creatively while other people cannot—but there is strong evidence to support that genetics might have a lot to do with it. Hence, some people will simply never be good at creative writing or capable of solving complicated mathematical problems. Forcing everyone into a one-mold-fits-all education system (as do “traditional” schools) demands that everyone be good at every subject—something that is very unlikely and sets unrealistically high goals…a recipe for failure. Such a system leads to mass stress and frustration on the part of students who are therefore more likely to resent education and gain low self-esteem which substantially increases their chances of dropping out.
Individualized Learning Plans aim to make learning a more worthwhile endeavor for students by allowing them to focus on subjects that interest them. Most people are naturally drawn to fields where they have strength and ability and Individualized Learning Plans create a lesson plan of classes that will help students become the best that they can be in their chosen field. For instance, students who are interested in Literature can avoid calculus and students who are strong in math can escape creative writing classes.
Individualized Learning Plans have traditionally been used to help students who have learning disabilities but they are a form of education that could benefit every single student regardless of their age and IQ. They are an especially interesting concept in the world of eLearning since virtual programs are a growing field and are constantly seeking ways to become more student-centered. Individualized Learning Plans are as student-centric as possible and they open up many career doors for students who know what their strengths are and what they want to pursue as a field of work and/or college education.
For more information about Individualized Education Plans and their potentials, see this wonderful article on eLearningIndustry.com: