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August 9, 2017

The Undercover Pathway Student — Individualized Learning

Pathway writer Dannielle Hext experienced the impact of individualized learning as an undercover student in Pathway

As a writer at BYU-Pathway, I didn’t fully understand the student experience. Every day, I heard stories about how PathwayConnect changes lives, but I wanted to experience it myself. So I went undercover for one semester to see the program through a student’s eyes. This is what I learned…


Lesson 3: Individualized Learning

A friend of mine once asked why I was doing PathwayConnect. “You’re already studying at BYU-Idaho,” she reasoned. “It’s not like your grades are bad. Why are you putting in so much effort for a work assignment?”

My answer was a little complicated. Yes, it was true I didn’t need to do PathwayConnect, but I thought I could benefit from actually being in the program. I thought I could learn something that would help me — and I did! During PathwayConnect, I learned more about the gospel and about myself than I ever thought I would.

Through my experience as a student, I learned the Spirit has something to teach everyone and that PathwayConnect can be a tool to help that learning take place.

“That Explains So Much!”

“During my time in the program, I found there was always something new to learn — even for students… who already had some higher education experience.”

During my time in the program, I found there was always something new to learn — even for students like me, who already had some higher education experience. Every week, I learned principles of time management, stewardship, repentance, and endurance, and as I applied those principles, I learned even more. Every lesson was tailored to help me create my own experiences; so instead of just learning to regurgitate the information, I grew and improved my life with my new understanding.

I wasn’t the only one to experience this, though. Because of these individualized learning experiences, I found the other students I interacted with were also discovering new things and growing. Every week, I heard and read comments like, “Oh, I’ve never thought of it that way!” or “That explains so much!”

No matter the amount of life experience or education, everyone learned something. Even students in their sixties and seventies who had already studied at university learned personal lessons as they participated in PathwayConnect. It was amazing to watch my classmates’ eyes light up as new concepts began to make sense to them.

Same Topic, Different Lessons Learned.

One night, as I was talking to a classmate about our time in PathwayConnect, I realized that her experiences were nothing like mine. It helped me see that the emphasis on universal lessons, application, and learning by the Spirit helps students individually discover exactly what they need to learn.

For example, there was a lesson in Life Skills about time management and stewardship. I realized I was spending too much time watching television or scrolling through social media when I needed to be building relationships and spending time with my friends. As I tried to spend more time with my friends, I was strengthened by my friends’ testimonies and charity.

The student I spoke with from my gathering group had a completely different experience about the same lesson. As she learned about time management, she felt prompted to dedicate a particular time every day to study her scriptures, and she did. The lessons she and I learned were very different, but they helped us to grow in the ways that we needed. That is the power of individualized learning.

PathwayConnect gatherings give students an opportunity to share what they have learned and applied from the lesson with other PathwayConnect students.

A Foundation of Personal Growth

Since completing a semester in PathwayConnect, I have come to realize how much of what I learned in the program wasn’t really part of the curriculum. Instead, the lessons provided me with a foundation to create my own experiences, and from those experiences, I gained valuable life lessons about listening, forgiveness, patience, and responsibility. I started to understand principles I hadn’t before. I know every lesson will benefit me as I continue moving forward in life.

So if you’re considering PathwayConnect, or are curious about what it teaches, remember that you’re sure to learn more than just “Life Skills,” “Basic Writing,” and “Algebra and Personal Finance.” You’ll open yourself up to highly personal lessons that will change your life as you learn by the Spirit.


This article is part three of a four-part series dedicated to the lessons Dannielle learned during her experience as an undercover student in Pathway. In part one, she talks about friendship. Part two is about effort. Stay tuned for part four in the near future!

Enroll in PathwayConnect today to see what it can offer you!

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