Personalized Learning in K-6

Empowering elementary students with
personalized learning pathways…

The concept of the DLC grew out of the belief that every learner is unique and – for any number of reasons – may be seeking to learn in ways that are different from the experiences in a traditional school. Our school was created to offer choice to these learners.

For 10 years, we’ve been developing online courses, providing instruction and supporting learners as they navigate those courses at a pace that suits them. We have found this to be a great fit for many, especially for those families that want ready-to-go lesson plans and structured learning within a home-based environment. This form of support will continue to be available to those who seek it.

But, we’ve come to realize that model is not a fit for everyone. When mom and/or dad have chosen to be an active and regular part of their child’s learning, they often wish to incorporate other educational resources – kits, workbooks, lesson plans – into the mix and may even assume responsibility for evaluation and assessment.

A Successful Pilot Project

From September 2016 to June 2017, we conducted a pilot project with 10 home-based families. Each had their own reasons for pursing home-based learning and each had a personalized learning plan that accommodated their unique situation. The ages, maturity levels and capacities of the learners varied greatly, as did the degree of parental involvement.

We explored different ways that we, as a staff at the DLC could support that family regardless of what resources they chose to use or what pace they needed to work at.

And the lessons we learned, triggered an evolution.

We’ve shifted gears to honour the needs of these families and today we embrace an even broader sense of

personalized learning

This phenomenon is being practised by educational leaders around the globe and we’ve figured out how we can apply this concept to our school – and bring it into your home - too.

Personalized learning means that students have voice and choice.

Voice in determining with what tools and at what pace they learn. Choice in the way they demonstrate their learning and show evidence that they've met - or mastered - curricular outcomes. This freedom can foster great academic and personal success and we see our role as enabling, co-creating and supporting you and your learner regardless of which educational pathway you take.

We think of learning on a spectrum.

That spectrum accommodates learning that is structured and flexible, accelerated and extended, heavily dependent on DLC instructors and primarily guided by students and their mentors.

Where you fall on this spectrum might vary subject to subject or year to year...and that's OK. There is room for every type of learner that wants to set academic goals and work to achieve them.

But that freedom also comes with a healthy dose of responsibility.

To help you make decisions and build a plan that best suits your learner’s needs, we encourage your family to consider several critical factors:


  • What is the learner’s age? Maturity?
  • What is their level of independence?
  • Do they have prior experience with online learning?

Mentor Role

  • What is the intended degree of involvement in your child’s learning?
  • Do you intend to create (or co-create) the timeline, routines, and environments in which your child learns?
  • How much do you wish to be involved in assessment of learning?

Instructor Role

  • Will the instructor play an active role in preparing materials, providing instruction, feedback and assessment? To what degree is that shared with the parent?
  • Will you rely on them to help align learning outcomes with the unique combination of activities that you design for your learner?

Resource Preferences

  • Does your child wish to learn primarily from one or more of the DLC’s online courses?
  • Are there other educational materials and resources that you intend to incorporate into your child’s learning?

Unique Circumstances

  • Are there unique circumstances that will/could affect your child’s learning? Extended periods of family travel? Active sporting or extra curricular activities? Diagnosed learning challenges? Social behaviors that may impact learning?


  • Does a traditional September-June school year suit your learner’s needs?
  • Do you have reasons to extend or compress the school year?
  • How many hours a day/week do you intend to dedicate to your learning?

Taking the time to consider and discuss these questions will equip you with the knowledge to effectively plan and give us the information that we need to help.

Next Steps…

If you believe that your learner is unique and you’d like to explore how we can support him/her – and you as their primary support - in the pursuit of their goals, we’d love to talk to you.

Email us

If you're looking to do some additional reading, flip through our Learning Mentor Guide for suggestions on how you can prepare your child for success in an online or home-based learning environment.