Earlier this year I contributed an article to the Huffington Post about the impact that technology is having on creating on a more personal learning experience. This is something that we spend a lot of time thinking about – how the technology is enabling a new level of personalization for learners and engaging instructors in way that can help them to evolve the strategies they use to teach. Technology needs to be about enabling and fueling progress, and our role delivering it, about being a part of the community that helps to achieve these goals.
Personal learning, or personalization, are interesting terms – and ones you’re going to hear us talk about a lot more – so let’s define what they mean. This isn’t about being able to customize an interface or set preferences for users. It’s about a learning experience and environment that enhances a teacher’s ability to offer instruction that is paced, relevant to the individual and responsive to the specific interests and needs of an individual learner. And it isn’t about an experience that is defined for the learner. It’s about empowering that individual learner with their own set of choices.
For me, this is the most exciting aspect of what technology can help to deliver. Models like blended and flipped learning deployed in a way that are relevant to each learner and each learning experience and can pave the way for higher engagement and more successful outcomes. And as the analytics become more readily available there is so much insight to be leveraged in how to better deliver content and work through learning activities that are tailored to the way an individual student learns. This is truly transformative.
There’s an expression that we use to describe the one size fits all approach to technology in teaching and learning – “new tech, old school”. It’s the end result of technology for technology’s sake – the shift to online systems that simply automates tasks and uploads class lists. For us, if dragging and dropping does nothing to help enable the progress and personalization of learning, we won’t be doing it. This journey isn’t about enabling the old broadcast industrial style model of teaching and learning. It’s about flipping it – accelerating learning, creating engaging experiences, inspiring lifelong learning, and making it personal.