Personalised learning

Planning from age-equivalent content

The following points elaborate on the process outlined in the flowchart Using the Australian Curriculum to meet the learning needs of all students. The process starts with learning area content that aligns with students’ chronological age — in this example, Year 5 Science:

In Year 5 Science, students learn about the solar system [Year 5 Science Understanding ACSSU078] and how to construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies [Year 5 Science Inquiry Skills ACSIS090].

The Year 5 Science content provides the starting point for developing the teaching and learning program for all students. The program can be personalised in relation to individual student need through curriculum adjustments which may include the following for gifted and talented students:

  • Drawing from learning area content at different levels along the Foundation to Year 10 sequence to personalise age-equivalent learning area content. For example:

    An adjustment may be that while most of the students in the class are given websites by the teacher to use to research information about the planets in the solar system as well as a table to summarise their information, a student with gifts and talents is required to carry out their own research on the internet to find information about the planets [Year 5 Science Understanding ACSSU078] and use this information to develop a computer simulation showing the planets in the solar system and their relationship to earth using Kahootz [Year 6 Science Inquiry Skills ACSIS107].

  • Using the general capabilities learning continua to personalise age-equivalent learning area content. For example:

    An adjustment may be to teach targeted literacy skills, identified for an individual student or group of gifted and talented students, through the science lesson.

    These may include using their knowledge of the solar system [Year 5 Science Understanding ACSSU078] to design an intergalactic tour and a travel brochure to encourage people to take that tour. This is used to consolidate knowledge of how to structure a persuasive text [Literacy: Text knowledge Level 4 and Literacy: Visual knowledge Level 4], and to present the findings of research into the solar system [Year 5 Science Understanding ACSSU078]. The task is also used to develop creative thinking skills [Critical and creative thinking: Inquiring Level 4 and Critical and creative thinking: Generating ideas, possibilities and actions Level 4].

  • Using the cross-curriculum priorities to personalise age-equivalent learning area content. For example:

    An adjustment may be that Sustainability is targeted for a student or small group of gifted and talented students through the science lesson. This may include using their knowledge about the solar system and the relationship between the earth and the sun to examine the use of solar energy as a sustainable energy source [Year 7 Science Understanding ACSSU116].

    Another adjustment may be that a student or small group of gifted and talented students learn about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples explain night and day and use observation of the night sky to assist with navigation [Year 6 Science as a Human Endeavour ACSHE099].

  • Aligning individual learning goals with age-equivalent learning area content.

    Adjustments made in response to a student who has gifts and talents as well as a specific learning difficulty as identified in an individual learning plan can affect not only how they access content but also what the focus of that learning will be. This might involve, for example, a greater emphasis on Literacy and Personal and social capability, which represent some of the essential skills that all students need in order to become successful learners at school and in their lives beyond school. Teachers can use these capabilities to align with individual learning goals such as personal skills and plan for multiple opportunities to develop these skills across the school day. For example:

    In the context of this Science example, the goal may be for a student to describe the influence that personal qualities and strengths have on their learning outcomes [Personal and social capability: Self-awareness Level 4] in a guided investigation of the solar system [Year 5 Science Understanding ACSSU078] where they have to research and record data about the planets in the solar system. The student then has to use the data to write an information report on the solar system [Literacy: Text knowledge Level 3]. When drafting, editing and publishing their report there is explicit instruction and a focus on sentence structure [Literacy: Grammar knowledge Level 3] and spelling skills [Literacy: Word knowledge Level 3].

    Although there is greater focus in the last point on the general capabilities, the learning still takes place through the context of a learning area (Year 5 Science), with an expectation that the Science learning will be achieved alongside the other learning.

Detailed Illustrations of personalised learning have been developed to promote equity and excellence for diverse learners, including gifted and talented students. The illustrations demonstrate access to age-equivalent learning area content from the Australian Curriculum. There are many sources of advice about planning quality teaching and learning programs that are inclusive of gifted and talented students. The websites of state and territory education authorities are a good starting point.