Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Todd Lilly


Personalized learning (PL) is a pedagogical model designed to focus on meeting students where they are in the learning process, tailoring an individual instruction plan, varying the learning experience to prepare students for life beyond school, and creating a flexible environment that allows for student ownership and voice in the learning process (Rickabaugh, 2016). A PL model is designed to better address 21st century competencies and higher-order thinking skills as well as the inclusion of agency and self-efficacy development deemed necessary for success in the modern society (United States Department of Education [USDE], 2010). The purpose of this action research study was to discover the impact of a PL model on the development of higher-order thinking skills in the social studies classroom. Students were educated in a classroom utilizing a PL model centered on three major tenants: flexible learning environments, competencybased progression, and student-directed learning. This study utilized a quantitative action research method via a one-shot case study and a one-group pretest-posttest method to test the development of higher-order thinking skills. Results from this study will be added to the research base for PL and may serve as a guide for future curricular design in the school and district that will become the context for this study


© 2018, Mark Jon Hladek