Customized Learning

A learning model where students have the choice to determine when, where, and how they learn based on their needs, interests, and talents.

Customized learning extends the concepts of student-centered and personalized learning by putting students, and parents, in charge of deciding when, where, and how learning will take place. Relationships are at the center of the customized model. In addition to teaching and assessing student work, it’s the responsibility of every VLACS instructor and advisor to build meaningful relationships with students to ensure that students meet the goals of their customized learning plan.

Competencies and flexible pacing are
the cornerstones of customized learning.

Competency [kom-pi-tuh n-see] n.

1. A statement which describes the skills, abilities, and knowledge required in an area of study (competency group).

Competency statements target the big ideas or enduring understandings, and are typically comprised of two or more academic standards.

Example of a Competency

Microeconomics

Student will demonstrate understanding of the interaction between the factors of production and market forces by identifying the resources needed for producing goods and services and predicting how their cost and availability will impact supply, business profitability, and economic growth.

Customized Learning

Customized Learning is Personalized and Student-Centered

Meet Lisa

Meet Lisa

She is a part-time Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) student studying economics and preparing for junior league tennis tournaments.

When Does Learning Take Place?

Students have the opportunity to engage in learning on days and times that meet their unique needs.

Meet Lisa
Lisa can plan to work on class materials whenever it makes the most sense for her daily schedule, which gives her plenty of time to practice her tennis skills.
20 Wednesday, Sep 20
8:00 am
At school for algebra and history
10:00 am
VLACS economics class
3:00 pm
Tennis team practice
7:00 pm
VLACS college English
21 Thursday, Sep 21
8:00 am
At school for algebra and history
3:00 pm
Bus leaves for tennis match
7:00 pm
Bus returns from tennis match
22 Friday, Sep 22
8:00 am
At school for algebra and history
1:00 pm
VLACS Economics class
3:00 pm
Tennis team practice
23 Saturday, Sep 23
8:00 am
Bank internships for economics
10:00 am
VLACS college English

Where Does Learning Happen?

The location where learning takes place is flexible and changes based on the pathway and the needs of the student.

Meet Lisa
Lisa is able to learn and work on the class projects in a hands-on environment, in the comfort of her own home, or in a typical classroom setting.
Chamber of Commerce
Experience-Internship
Microeconomics
Lisa completes a project that leads to an understanding of market forces and economic growth. 
Chamber of Commerce
Airport
Experience-Travel
Macroeconomics
As part of her learning, Lisa visits the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to learn about monetary and fiscal policy.
Airport
Home
Project
Personal Finance
Lisa assumes the role of a financial literacy coach and helps create and monitor a family budget.
Home
School
VLACS Course
Supply and Demand
Lisa learns to apply the economic concepts of supply and demand.
School

How Is Learning Mastered?

Competencies are mastered and credit may be earned through one or more learning pathways.

Meet Lisa
Lisa can earn class credit through a variety of educational options, or she can focus on pathways that work best for her learning style.

Learning Pathways

With customized learning, time is on your side.

In a customized learning environment, students set their pace based on their specific needs and goals.

Traditional Learning

In a traditional learning model, the expectation is that all students will learn at the same rate and master competencies by the end of the semester. Although Lisa is excited about Economics and wants to learn at an accelerated pace, she complies with the school’s timeline and completes her work in Economics and English by the end of the semester. Lisa wants to be successful in Math, but she needs additional time to master competencies in this discipline. Lisa does not master the concepts by the end of the semester and will be required to re-take the course next year.

Customized Learning


In a customized learning model, time barriers are removed. Students can master competencies at a faster pace or work at a slower pace if they find a competency challenging. Lisa enjoys Economics and the exciting learning paths available to her and masters the competencies at an accelerated rate. Lisa completes her English competencies by the end of the semester, and extends the time to master math competencies beyond a typical semester as she finds them more challenging.

Putting it all together: From competencies to credits

Upon completion, competencies are grouped together to form traditional credits such as U.S. History, Algebra, or English IV. Our learning backpack was created to help students organize their enrollment requests and then move the completed competencies into our transcript.
Meet Lisa
Lisa would like to transfer her completed economics competencies to her local school. VLACS makes this easy by packaging the competencies into a half-credit which conforms to the needs of traditional schools.

Meet Lisa
Customized learning allowed Lisa to learn in ways that met her personal needs, academic interests, and unique talents.

Lisa felt that she had choices and was able to connect what she learned with the real world. She did a lot of hard work, learned many new things, and felt like her efforts paid off. She’s now looking forward to customizing more of her education in the future.

Choose your path

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