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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training

Personalised Learning - A framework for Practice

[1]A recent study that explored how disability practitioners in tertiary education in Australia are supporting students with a specific learning disability to achieve successful outcomes, has highlighted common themes evident in the practice approach of effective disability practitioners.[2]These themes are also attributed by students as contributing factors to achieving successful educational outcomes. In brief, students with specific learning disabilities are more likely to experience success when the disability practitioner embeds aspects of personalised learning within their practice. [3]Personalised learning is a value based pedagogy that recognises human uniqueness and is reflected in an education system tailored to the needs, interests and aptitudes of every single student. The following practice strategies are inherent within a personalised learning approach, [4]learner centred practice, utilising information and communications technology (ICT) as a key enabler and understanding that learning is a lifelong process and communities of collaboration are essential to sustain transformational change. Embedded within the themes of personalised learning are practice principles related to building relationships, exploring for strengths in contrast to deficits, rights based and equitable interventions, sustainable solutions, evidence based and future focussed practice.

 Personalised Learning

Practice Strategies

Constructive working relationships

The practitioner explores with the student to fully understand their individual experience of specific learning disability. A relationship of trust and collaboration is established to support the planning and intervention process.


Strength based practice

The students’ strengths and coping strategies are illuminated through strength based practice and language and are integral to the development and implementation of effective interventions / strategies in the teaching and learning environment.

Solution focussed

The practitioner is not deficit focussed and instead draws on the identified strengths of the student working collaboratively with the student to explore their coping strategies and to highlight exceptions (times when the student has experienced success). As a result personalised interventions and strategies are introduced. Read more


Sustainable solutions

Encouraging students to believe that they can remove or minimise the impact of learning barriers in any learning or working environment - without specialist interventions. Interventions are therefore sourced within the environment or are designed to move with the student wherever possible.


Academic Skills

Academic skills are included in the sustainable solutions and planning for students with SLD. Many students with SLD present with a gap in fundamental academic study skills that are associated with executive functioning – organisation, breaking down tasks, planning, time management.

Assistive Technologies (AT)

Assistive technologies are considered in light of the strengths and capabilities of the student. For some students mastering AT is viewed as another overwhelming hurdle, for others, AT is the key enabler.

Universal design

Strategies introduced to remove barriers to learning in the education environment are strategies that can benefit all students.



The disability practitioner is aware that it is impossible to know everything there is to know about SLD or the educative requirements across teaching faculties. Instead relationships are built with students and academics and the process of understanding, developing and implementing inclusive plans for students is shared.



Through practitioner modeling the student becomes comfortable with the language associated with their specific learning difficulties, at ease with the process of exploring for solutions drawing on their identified strengths and more able to articulate for themselves. The student can actively contribute to the action planning for adjustments that will be required into the future.


[1] Fry, J. Facilitating success for students with specific learning disabilities in tertiary education: A framework for success.
[2] Webber, J. (2016)
[3] Lovat, T., Dally, K., Clement, N., & Toomey, R. (2011). Values pedagogy and student achievement.
[4] Abbey, N., & Baylis, A. (2012). Personalised learning round table discussion: Summary report 2011. Victoria: Victorian Council of School Organisations (VICCSO) and Crowther Centre for Learning and Innovation.