Personalized learning in home education: an examination of parent perceptions and use of multiple intelligences and learning styles in lower elementary learners in Nairobi, Kenya
Sitati, Janice Muthoki Kaunda
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This study explored personalized learning in home education. It examined parent perceptions of their learner's needs and interests through the combined use of two complementary educational approaches, the theory of Multiple Intelligences and the theory of Learning Styles. It further examined if and how these two approaches were used to personalize learning for lower elementary learners within the context of home education. The theoretical framework proposed the combined use of both approaches to achieve effective personalized learning in this context. This mixed methods study was done in Nairobi with a sample drawn from home educated learners between the ages of 6 and I 0 years and their parent educators. The data was collected using open ended parent educator questionnaires and learner interviews as well as closed ended multiple intelligences checklists and learning styles inventories. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis due to the exploratory nature of the study. It was found that parent educators were knowingly or intuitively aware of their learners' multiple intelligences and learning styles, and this awareness in many cases translated to effective personalized learning. Outcomes of effective personalized learning were enhanced personalized home learning characterized by increased learner engagement, motivation, comfort, increased understanding and enjoyment in learning. A derived conceptual framework was suggested which confirmed and built on the theoretical framework. As the study was limited to home education of lower elementary learners in Nairobi, future studies were recommended to test the resulting conceptual framework quantitatively within Kenya and further studies on the same can be done in other countries where home education is practiced.