Season 3: Episode 7 – How to Personalize Learning with Barbara Bray [Podcast]

In this episode, we’re speaking with Barbara Bray. You may remember our chat with Barbara last season – Episode 5. Barbara was one of our first book author interviews! And it is so great to have her back again! Barbara is a Creative Learning Strategist who believes that anyone at any age can learn. She has worked with schools, districts, individuals, businesses, and non-profit agencies around the world. Her dream was to create an online place that was safe and secure with all the tools and resources all in one place. She did it with My eCoach as early as 1999 — way before there were blogs, wikis, Twitter or Facebook. Barbara is what you call a “Digital Pioneer.” She coined and trademarked the phrase “Making Learning Personal” in 2000. Now personalizing learning is big. It’s just what has to be — start with the learner. So Barbara and Kathleen McClaskey started Personalize Learning in 2012, co-authored  two books, Make Learning Personal in 2014 and How to Personalize Learning that came out this past October. Barbara is now focusing on change, deeper learning, design-thinking, project-based learning, and facilitating the design of coaching programs and learner-centered environments.

Here is what we talked about:

  1. Let’s start the conversation with your latest book, How to Personalize Learning. Can you give us an overview and why educators might want to read it?
  2. We spent the good part of last year defining our beliefs about learning as an organization. One of our beliefs is learner agency. Share with us your thoughts on learner agency and why it’s so important for today’s learners – young and old?
  3. Agency sounds like what all of us need. What is the challenge that is keeping our learners from developing the skills they need?
  4. We are thinking about a more intentional focus on project-based learning for next year. How do you think PBL can help transform learning?
  5. You are quite busy working with schools! What are the best models that schools and district might wish to learn from?
  6. Share with us what you are currently working on. What are you doing now?

Join in the conversation!

Each episode we’ll leave you with a question or two to think about with the idea of provoking conversation.

This week’s questions:

  1. How do you create the conditions for learner agency in your classroom or school?
  2. What are the first steps you can take to help learners personalize their learning?

You can join the conversation by leaving a comment below or by using the hashtag #TLTalkRadio on Twitter.

Explore Additional Resources:

In this episode, we provided many resources pertaining to Barbara’s work.  Additional information available at:

Resources mentioned by Barbara in episode:

  • How to Personalize Learning: A Practical Guide on Getting Started and Going Deeper by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey. Check out book on Corwin’s site. If you plan to purchase, use 20% discount code N16906
  • Make Learning Personal: The What, Who, Wow, Where, and Why by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey. Check out book on Corwin’s site. If you plan to purchase, use 20% discount code N16906
  • Collaborative Blog Series on Learner Agency with Barbara Bray @bbray27, Kathleen McClaskey @khmmc and The Institure for Personalized Learning @Institute4PL

The Continuums moving to Agency by Barbara Bray @bbray27 and Kathleen McClaskey @khmmc with graphics designed by Sylvia Duckworth @sylviaduckworth

Continuum of Choice

Continuum of Voice

Continuum of Engagement

Continuum of Motivation

Continuum of Ownership

Continuum of Purpose

Continuum of Self-Efficacy


Join #plearnchat on Mondays 7pm ET, 5pm CT, 4pm PT

Monday, March 13: UDL, ESSA, and Personalized, Competency-Based Education co-hosted by @Knowledgeworks

Monday, April 3: Micro-credentials as Personal Professional Learning co-hosted by @DigitalPromise

Save April 17 for topic TBA


Upcoming Conferences for Barbara

CUE 2017 Conference, Palm Springs

Personal Learning Backpacks:

Empower Learners using the UDL Lens

Session 7: Friday, March 17, 2017, 2:00pm – 3:00pm PT

250 Theater at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs

Future Focused Learning Conference

May 2 Hamilton & May 3 Taupo, New Zealand

Keynote: Future of Learning

Session 1: Building Learner Agency

Session 2: Changing Spaces, Thinking and Mindsets

ISTE 2017

San Antonio June 25-28, 2017

Design Thinking and Universal Design for Learning for Makerspaces, STEM, and STEAM

Monday, June 26, 11:30 am–12:30 pm CDT

Presented by Barbara Bray and Dr. Jackie Gerstein

Personalize Learning by Building a Personal Learning Backpack with your Learners

Wednesday, June 28, 9:00–10:00 am CDT

Presented by Kathleen McClaskey and Barbara Bray

If you have a question or suggestion for a future episode, please click on the red Send Voicemail button on the right and leave us a message!

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