Topic 2 How can technology enhance the personalized learning process?

A common problem in classrooms is a disconnection between teachers and learners. Instructors are often not using the same language as their learners, and the passive way in which information is delivered can create even more disconnect for learners who are either very far ahead or very far behind their peers. This is one of the areas in which the personalized learning model greatly benefits teachers and learners alike.

Because this model takes into account each student’s learning needs, interests, abilities, and aspirations, personalized learning creates more engaging and dynamic classrooms that drive academic achievement and personal growth. In fact, case studies have found that implementing technology in the classroom to create personalized learning plans increases student achievement and improves test scores by an average of 30%.

Personalized learning with other pedagogical models such as mobile learning, ubiquitous learning, game-based learning, collaborative learning etc. has high potential to enhance the respective model by improving the learning progress and outcome of learners as outlined below.

  1. Mobility

The use of mobile wireless devices afford personalized learning while on the move and the rise of these technologies provide positive pedagogical affordances. More over, this mobility enables personalized learning in formal and informal settings by decreasing “the dependence on fixed locations for work and study, and consequently change the way we work and learn”. One can highlight three factors of mobile learning, namely, “portability, social interactivity, context, and individuality”. Out of these three, portability is the factor that makes other technological attributes such as individuality and interactivity possible. Thus the first generation of truly portable information has come integrated with many functions through these small, hand held electronic devices such as smart-phones and PDAs.

Mobile devices have become more dynamic and pervasive with the recent technological innovations in social networking due to the rise of Web 2.0. As a result, the content is more personalized and also possible is the learning across contexts Mobile learning has been identified as “an extension of personalized e-learning.” It is stated that it was a subset of e-learning, a step toward making the educational process “just in time, just enough and just for me.”

Mobile technology has two personalizable attributes: (1) to increase an individuals organizational skills and self-regulative (or self-directed) learning ability, and (2) communication, collaboration, and knowledge construction. This shows that, learners can consume and create information both collectively and individually.

  1. Collaboration

Research provides compelling evidence on the importance of working towards learner collaboration in the learning process to a large extent. Thankfully, the evolution of Web 2.0 based social technologies promote a number of useful learning avenues through informal conversation, reflexive dialogue and collaborative content generation as well as providing access to a wide variety of ideas and representations. Interestingly the majority of these tools shift control to the learner in number of different ways including promoting learner autonomy and engagement in social networks across physical, geographic, institutional and organizational settings. However, in order for an individual’s learning to come to fruition, they not only need to be able to choose relevant tools and content from what is available, but also to have access to the necessary scaffolding to support their learning. Alternate methods might be shown the slower learner with more tangible materials and hands on teaching.”

  1. Gamification

Increasing interest in game-based learning established great opportunities for personalization of learning. Game-based personalized learning is consistent with constructivist learning theories which emphasize that learning is active and knowledge is built on top of one’s own experiences.

Personalized games include tolerance and encouragement of risk within a safe environment, thus promoting and encouraging experimentation instead of passive learning. They can support personalized learning that is active, experiential, situation based, problem and inquiry-based, and they provide immediate feedback. They also involve communities of practice which provide collaborative support to learners.

Evidence for their efficacy as educational tools is growing. A number of research studies find that serious games, compared with more traditional learning methods, improve learning and retention at a higher rate.

  1. Context awareness

With the evolution of mobile technology there is a growing interest about context-aware learning in the research community over the last decade. Some studies deal with the context-aware learning activities that use an algorithm for planning personalized learning paths such as the ones represented in mind-tools and concept maps. For instance, a Personalized Context-Aware English vocabulary Learning system is developed to help enhance learners’ ability in using and practicing the language appropriate to the context where they are in. This application takes three variables into account. Based on the learner’s location, their individual abilities and the time of the day, the system determines the kind of vocabulary the learner might need and serves the relevant content. For example, vocabulary related to Christmas is served if the date is 25 December, and the content related to food and drinks is served if the learner is in a restaurant.

The CLUE knowledge-awareness application enables collaborative learning between learners. In order to facilitate the learning between two groups of distance learners, CLUE identifies the nearest learners and their knowledge about the subjects/topics that they are working on currently. The information thus gained is geographically displayed in a knowledge awareness map. This allows the learners to seek help from one another and leads them to find collaborative peers to work with to learn or study and solve problems.

Context-awareness is effectively used in Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM) application. In this system, the intentions as well as the preferences of the learners are used as the basis for selecting relevant learning objects. SCORM became an international standard proposed by advanced distributed learning initiative (ADL) which has been widely used since then to solve the problems of sharing and reusing learning materials in different and incompatible formats of web-based learning systems.

  1. Reality Augumentation

AR uses a calculated field position and camera angle to impose a layer of virtual objects over the real-world background. Learners can immerse themselves in the combined virtual and real-world scenes as well as interact with the virtual objects and access relevant information. AR systems can be designed to provide learners with personalized scaffolding and support and help them construct personal knowledge as they observe and experience real-world contexts. In recent years, AR has been applied to learning environments in an attempt to overcome drawbacks associated with traditional teaching environments. Some of these technologies have been shown to improve learning outcomes and learning motivation. The goal of many such systems is to provide learners with a friendly, interactive interface and rich, engaging media to stimulate intrinsic motivation and learning performance.

The key advantages of AR in personalized learning include the following: (1) it helps stimulate learning intention through pursuing outdoor learning objectives, (2) AR technology provides learners with contextual information related to the outdoor learning environment, and (3) it enhances learner retention of teaching contents easily with the situated learning strategy.

Both Android and iPhone support AR in navigation features, providing users with personalized location-specific information. Images have a stronger impact on memory than text, thus layering supplementary images and information over the real world environment in the AR environment can promote knowledge retention.

Some researchers proposed an interactive Multimedia Augmented Reality Interface for E-learning system and developed a user-friendly interface to explore the potential of AR in instruction by superimposing virtual multimedia content information in an AR tabletop environment. Others investigated the potential of AR spaces to supply communication cues and promote collaboration in learning environments. Their empirical results indicated that AR techniques have significant potential to serve as a shared medium in personalized collaborative learning.

With the help of this topic, have gone more in depth in the description of the concept of personalized learning.

Here we have defined several ways in which technology has the potential to enhance the learning experience.