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Can we define personalised learning?
The definition of ‘personalised learning’ is in danger of becoming diminished to the point where it becomes no more than marketing hype!
The situation is complicated because several terms are used interchangeably with personalised learning, for example: adaptive learning, blended learning, competency-based learning, differentiated learning, and individualised learning. The education community would agree that while each of these learning approaches shares attributes with personalised learning, none is synonymous. However, each definition overlaps in at least one key area with personalised learning.
- Adaptive learning: technology used to assign human or digital resources to learners based on their unique needs.
- Individualised learning: the pace of learning is adjusted to meet the needs of individual students.
- Differentiated learning: the approach to learning is adjusted to meet the needs of individual students.
- Competency-based learning: learners advance through a learning pathway based on their ability to demonstrate competency, including the application and creation of knowledge as well as skills.
This definition from the US Department of Education captures the essence of personalised learning thus:
Personalised learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimised for the needs of each learner.
Personalised learning therefore aims to provide a more tailored education for every learner. It begins with an in-depth understanding of each learner’s needs, and then seeks to provide relevant opportunities that support learners as they progress in their learning and development. It is worth noting that personalised learning also refers to a continuous learning process.
Are there benefits to personalised learning?
- When learning is optimised and tailored for each learner, and driven by learner interests, it becomes more meaningful and relevant, which can lead to greater engagement and achievement by learners.
- When learners are given more choice, they tend to take more ownership of their learning and will develop the mindsets, learning strategies, and self-regulated learning behaviours that are necessary for meeting both immediate goals and as well as those for lifelong learning.
- When learning is supported by technology, learners can receive more frequent and immediate feedback through assessments, quizzes and other checks for understanding where the results are provided in real time.
With so many online resources available, we trust that you will find personalised learning solutions that are optimised for your needs and that suits your pace of learning!