Individual Learning Plans
What is an Individual Learning Plan?
An individual learning plan, or ILP, is a document that establishes a set of learning goals and objectives for an individual student. Those who have experimented with this tool have found that it helps students value and actively engage in the learning process. For many students, it can make the difference between failure and success. Here at Parent Driven Schools, our hope and dream is that someday all schools will use ILPs to support the learning process for all students.
What exactly does an ILP do?
An ILP helps identify a particular student's strengths, challenges, interests and learning styles and then matches that profile to resources and tools that can maximize his/her learning potential within a given classroom setting. This resource and record follows a student as they grow and mature, reaching beyond the formal education process into all aspects of professional and personal life.
Does an ILP excuse a student from certain classes?
An ILP focuses on the student’s unique set of strengths, challenges, interests and learning styles. But that doesn’t mean that a child with an astounding artistic ability will be excused from, say, mathematics. On the contrary: The ILP identifies the support necessary to build capacity in areas of weakness as well as strengths. The ILP also helps each student actively engage in the learning process, build necessary skills, achieve success in all subject areas, and come to understand their own learning styles in ways that strengthen their learning skills and abilities for life.
Since most schools don't have ILPs in place yet, what can parents do right now to help their children?
Until all schools adopt the ILP as a primary tool for working with each child, we encourage and support parents in working with their child and their child's teacher to create their own version of an individual learning plan (using our IAM tool is a good way to start). While this may not be an official document, it can make a huge difference!
Use the ideas and resources below to better understand your child's unique set of abilities, challenges and interests. Then share what you've learned with your child's teacher. Brainstorm together about how you can build on your child's strengths and minimize challenges in the classroom. Follow up with the teacher periodically. And never, never give up!
- Depending on your chld's age, complete or have them complete the Interest and Abilities Map located on our site. Talk about it with your child, and then share it with your child's teacher, in person if possible. Brainstorm together about how to use this information to improve your child's learning experiences.
- Depending on your chld's age, complete or have them complete a learning styles assessment. Talk about it with your child, and then share it with your child's teacher as well. It can be quite revealing!
- Talk with your child about their school experiences. Learn as much as you can about what is currently engaging them, and why, as well as what is frustrating for them, and why.
- Keep in contact with your child's teacher to discuss current successes and frustrations. Call or email to ask for an appointment, if necessary, between reguarly scheduled parent-teacher conferences, IEP meetings, etc. Some teachers are willing to have frequent brief chats at pick-up time during periods of particular difficulty.
- To get more ideas about how you to work with your child's teacher, view the Parent Driven Schools documentary, Creating Lifelong Learners. To order, call our HelpLine at 1.800.979.4436. Please feel free to call the HelpLine, too, if you are having difficulty working with the teacher or school, or if you simply have unanswered questions.
- Keep informed. Take a look at our Resource Clearing House. Listen to our BlogTalkRadio shows, follow us on Facebook and read our PDS Blog.
- Sign our Statement of Support to help effect change — and bring ILPs into our school systems.
What is the difference between an Individual Learning Plan and the Individual Education Plan?
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a document mandated by law for children in public schools. The IEP guides the delivery of special education support and services for the student with significant physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning differences.
The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a challenge to learning in the traditional school setting.
The difference between the IEP and the ILP is this: The IEP focuses on services to support a student to adapt and adjust to the education system they are enrolled in The ILP supports the student in the process of becoming an effective and efficient learner.