11th Anniversary – Personalization vs. Differentiation vs. Individualization Chart

PDI Chart,, v1
11 years ago, Barbara Bray and I published the PDI Chart, v1 (snapshot to your left). From 2012 to 2017, the response to this chart was extraordinary with being contacted by thousands of educators in the United States and around the world asking to use it. We heard from researchers, the USDOE and state departments of education about using the chart in publications or on their websites as a resource. We discovered in that time we knew that this chart was being used on 6 continents and that it was being translated into many languages.


The Backstory Behind the PDI Chart

Here is the backstory to the first PDI Chart and how it came about. We created and published the first PDI chart on January 22, 2012 so that educators and parents could understand these terms from the perspective of the learner. We also wanted to clarify the differences between these terms as there was and still is confusion around them. Here is what we knew about the terms: Personalization, Differentiation and Individualization. In 2010, the National Ed Tech Plan defined all three of these terms as they are related to instruction. We decided to help define the differences from the perspective of the LEARNER. We noted from the very first chart that there are distinct differences between these three terms: Personalization is learner-centered, Differentiation and Individualization are teacher-centered.

Shortly after the publication of this chart, there was a request from an educational magazine in Brazil to Personalizationtranslate it. We were interviewed by Patricia Gomes, a reporter from Porvir in Brazil who wrote an article August 12, 2012 about the chart that resulted in an article and infographic in Portuguese. It was very exciting to see our work in Portuguese and see the value of an infographic that describes in a visual way the three approaches to teaching and learning. Here is a screenshot that represented Personalization.

In the response to virtually hundreds of questions by educators, we decided to explain the PDI chart in a report to provide further clarification. In 2012, we posted on our website at the time, the PDI Report.

PDI Report

This PDI Report became an invaluable resource as countless educators were wanting to know more about personalized learning that became the center of discussions in transforming education. That same year we launched our signature course, the  5W’s of Personalized Learning, where we receive an abundance of feedback and questions about these three terms.

Version 3 is the last version of the PDI Chart and can be located on this site under the Toolkit tab. You will find not just the US version but the translation of the PDI Chart in 9 European languages. This chart is used around the world to train educators on the differences of Personalization vs. Differentiation vs. Individualization.