Challenges & Recommendations for Technology-Enabled Personalized Learning

Dr. Mary Ann Wolf

Many states and districts are looking at emerging personalized learning initiatives such as competency-based, digital and blended learning models, but technology is an essential component that must be utilized in order to maximize the potential in these new systems. With technology-enabled personalized learning (TEPL), technology is a teaching force multiplier and a learning accelerator that can enable more efficient and effective use of learning time.

Last year, over 100 education leaders attended the Technology-Enabled Personalized Learning (TEPL) Summit hosted by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University in collaboration with Digital Promise, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA). The convening brought together leaders with diverse backgrounds, including industry, associations and nonprofits, and university and K-12 educators.

tepl-nc-state-report-orgTogether, they compared experiences, discussed common challenges and barriers, explored case studies, and identified potential solutions and models that all must be addressed collectively to scale the implementation of personalized learning through technology.

Their suggestions are now available in the final report, Technology-Enabled Personalized Learning: Findings and Recommendations to Accelerate Implementation.

The discussions and case studies shared by education leaders emphasized the potential and also the complexities of implementing truly personalized learning. Human capacity is essential, and the technology, data, content, and assessment systems have to work together to support the teaching and learning in an effective way.


Personalized learning is a comprehensive educational approach that puts students at the center and engages students when, where, and how to best meet their unique needs and interests. Summit participants recognize the central human element of teaching and learning and view technology as a teaching force multiplier and a learning accelerator that can enable more efficient and effective use of learning time.

The paper is organized around five themes, with suggested solutions to work toward specific goals: data, content and curriculum, technology architecture, research and development, and human capacity. Outcomes included development of action plans, tangible recommendations, partnerships, and furthering of participants’ knowledge.

For more on personalized learning, check out:

mary-ann-wolf-75x75Dr. Mary Ann Wolf is Director of Digital Learning Programs at The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University. Follow Mary Ann, @maryannwolfed.

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