Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Updated Personalization vs. Differentiation vs. Individualization Chart Version 3

Personalization v Differentiation v Individualization (PDI) Chart (Version 3) 

The PDI chart was created for a reason: to clarify the differences in these terms. In 2010, the National Ed Tech Plan defined all three of these terms as they are related to instruction. We needed to emphasize the differences: Personalization is learner-centered. The other two, Differentiation and Individualization are teacher-centered. Personalization or Personalized Learning means the learner is driving their learning. When the learner takes responsibility for their learning, teaching and learning changes. The roles of the teacher and learner change. We welcome you to share the PDI chart and use it for action research, professional learning, and to go deeper and clarify the terms so learning is deeper, relevant, and engaging.

It has been some time since we initially published the PDI Chart in January 2012. Version 2 was a revision nine months ago about the differences between these three terms distinguishing that personalization begins with the learner who drives and owns their learning. The other terms are teacher-centered where the teacher provides the instruction, support, and assessments for the learners.

We updated the chart again to version 3 from your feedback. Through discussions in our 5 W's of Personalized Learning eCourse and the Six Steps to Personalize Learning workshop, participants helped us realize that we were not clear in the chart about assessment. We needed to focus on Assessment AS, FOR, and OF Learning.
  • Individualization involves assessment OF learning. This is where summative assessment is grade-based and involves testing to confirm what learners know and do not know.
  • Differentiation involves assessment FOR learning and OF learning. This assessment involves time-based testing where teachers provide feedback to advance learning.
  • Personalization involves assessment AS learning, FOR learning, and a minimal OF learning. This is where teachers develop capacity so learners become independent learners who set goals, monitor progress and reflect on learning. Assessments are based on mastery.

We ask if you plan to make multiple copies of this chart or use it in a publication that you ask us permission via our email at

Please spread the word about this version of this chart. Share the ways you are using this chart in the comments below and in social media. Our Twitter hashtag is #plearnchat.

The more we learn from you, the more we learn and then want to share back with you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for such a great chart! I will be re-posting this on my professional Facebook page.
    Daylinda, SLP


Join us in the conversations and share your feedback: