Topic 1 What does personalization refer to?

To get an idea of what personalized learning is, try to picture a classroom that doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach to education. The educator doesn’t lead all learners through the same lessons. Instead, the he guides each one on an individualized journey. The what, when, where and how of learning is tailored to meet each learner’s strengths, skills, needs and interests.

This topics will be debated and clarified within the next slides

The basic premise of Personalized Learning (PL) is the belief that each learner is unique and learns in different ways. It has been suggested that personalized learning is originated from Howard Gardners theory of multiple intelligences. Thus, the variables for personalized learning include individual learner interests, their needs and abilities, and the identification of the best learning style for each learner.

Personalized Learning Strategies have a number of potential advantages over traditional learning methods and on-the-job training and they are consistent with constructivist learning theories which emphasize that learning is active and knowledge is built on top of own experiences.

Personalized Learning varies in definition in the contexts in which it is being applied today. In order to come to terms with both the theoretical and empirical aspects of personalized Learning, it is necessary to consider, to begin with, what has been written in the education policy documents as well as the approaches that educational institutes or teachers adopt in their practice. Personalized Learning is viewed by policy makers as “shaping of learners’ learning activities and the curriculum/knowledge content that reflect the input and interests of learners”. By this it is assumed that learners can understand how they learn, own and drive their learning and are co-designers of the curriculum and their learning environment. It also implies that student learning needs, interests, and capability determine the pace of learning.

The personalization aspect is achieved by understanding the duality of the educational act as well as the duality of the responsibilities that derives from it. While engaging in personal learning, it is important that each learner realizes their individual characteristics and needs such as different prior knowledge, cognitive abilities and learning styles. These individual differences affect the learning processes and are the reason why some learners find it easy to learn in a particular subject of study, whereas others find the same subject difficult.

Personalized learning can involve different levels in the educational process, including personalization of the curriculum, the courses, as well as the support provided within the courses. Furthermore, personalized learning can take place in traditional (face-to-face) learning settings as well as in technology-enhanced learning settings. In traditional approach, personalized learning requires a small number of learners per teacher. The small number of learners makes it possible for teachers to tailor their lessons, activities, and support, respectively. This gives learners more choices in the curriculum programs, affords learner-driven learning, and involves learners in the decision making processes.

The advantage of employing technology, however, is that learners can make use the content and become experts on par with their teacher. They can become experts on specific content areas and even create content. Personalising learning challenges educators to think about what new resources may be needed to support learning, and how learners can access them. Some of these resources may include those that have not traditionally been thought of as part of the education system. But one has to be mindful of the limitations

Technology-Enhanced Personalized Learning

The use of technology in education opened up new possibilities for providing personalized learning to learners and significantly enhanced the potential of personalized learning. Through the development and usage of learning systems, large numbers of learners in a class have been able to use and benefit from personalized learning as evident in literature.

An intelligent learning system is able to identify the characteristics of individual learners such as prior knowledge, learning styles, cognitive abilities, learning interests, learning goals and motivation from the feedback collected from the individuals. The knowledge thus realized allows the system for imparting personalized learning. In addition, the system is able to monitor individual behaviour and their actions for further honing its knowledge of the individual.

Another aspect where technology has been able to facilitate personalized learning is the individualization of curriculum. Such a curriculum is the result of the system considering various factors of learners in order to generate the most suitable curricula as well as the best sequence of learning items for each learner. Most of the current research on personalized learning is strongly related to technology-enhanced learning, enabling learning systems to provide personalized learning which otherwise is not feasible given the traditional classroom constraints.

Within this part, we have clarified the meaning of personalized education and set it apart from the previous chapter.

We have presented the general concept of personalized learning, and described it’s traits. Also, we have summarized some of the ways in which technology can enhance the personalized learning process.