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Virtual Personalized Student Learning Plans

Choice-based personalized learning plans for virtual instruction


During school closures, Chicago Public Schools quickly saw a need for a structure to help guide students through their learning independently as classes shifted to more asynchronous time. In addition to a need for more structured learning opportunities, teachers also noted an urgent need to increase student engagement. To problem solve for both of these challenges, the Department of Personalized Learning helped the district to launch virtual personalized learning plans.

"Learning Plans give your students a way to hold themselves accountable for completing their work each week. If you already have differentiated centers or workstations, this is now giving more accountability to students and allowing you to differentiate even further. With the transition to remote learning, there is also an opportunity to capitalize on increasing student agency at home when students have to be more responsible for their work. A learning plan is a tool to not only ‘check-the-box’ in terms of continuing to differentiate for students even in this remote environment, but also to give students a way to promote self-management at home." - Savannah Bell, Personalized Learning Leader - Chicago Public Schools


Each Monday, teachers provide their students with their personalized learning plans, which include standards- and rigor-aligned activities.

  • For self-contained teachers, students receive one plan per week that includes activities for all content areas.

  • For departmentalized teachers, students receive one plan per content area each week. To ensure continuity and ease of planning, templates are used, which also helps students to become familiar with the format of the plan.

Once prepared, these personalized learning plans are uploaded to the learning management system (LMS) being used by the teacher so that students, parents, and teachers can easily access the content, track progress against activities, and provide feedback.

When using the learning plans, students complete their assigned activities in any order they choose. This opportunity allows for learners to increase their sense of agency and develop self-management skills as they work to complete all of their activities within the week. As a part of their development of self-management skills and learner agency, students are also prompted to complete daily and weekly reflections on how their work is going and how they are progressing against their goals. This opportunity to choose how and when they complete their assignments also helps to increase student engagement as students determine how they’ll complete their weekly goals.

Personalized learning plans include:

  • Weekly goals set by the teacher and student

  • Opportunities for daily and weekly reflection on progress towards goals and on working habits

  • A place for students to create their weekly schedule

  • A list of synchronous and asynchronous activities to be completed both with the teacher and independently

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.

Strategy Resources

K - 2nd Virtual Learning Plan Example

Example lesson plan of a K - 2 virtual learning plan with activities that must... Learn More

Quick-Start Guide to Creating Virtual Learning Plans

A step-by-step guide on how to create and implement virtual learning plans starting with a... Learn More

3rd - 5th Grade Weekly Virtual Learning Plan Template

Template for a weekly virtual learning plan, which includes weekly goals, reflections, and a list... Learn More