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The Path to Personalization in 2014

  • 3 Min Read

It’s the time of year when, after some ‎reflection, we start to see new predictions and perspectives on upcoming trends. This year I’m encouraged to see personalized learning experiences at the heart of those discussions. Never have I seen so much industry anticipation and expectation for near-term personalization outcomes.

Here are a few recent predictions that I found compelling and thought were worth sharing:

Stacey Childress of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sees personalized learning driving several 2014 shifts.

Stacey notes that as personalized learning goes mainstream, we’ll start to see more schools demonstrate how students can achieve more than a year’s worth of learning growth in that same timeframe.

The “teachers or technology” dichotomy will become irrelevant. Even in the most advanced personalized learning school models, Stacey points out, “nobody knows teaching like teachers.” When teachers have access to better data and can spend more time with individuals and small groups, their students learn more.

Technology innovators will include the voices and experience of teachers, students, and administrators in product design. Real use cases and scenarios will help inform product development and address the gaps that remain.

Victor Hu, Global Head of Education Technology & Services at Goldman Sachs, also sees personalized learning as a major trend this year.

Victor writes about how digital content, assessment, and the increased usage of online platforms are creating valuable data which will power truly personalized learning experiences.

2014 will be the year that personalized learning is applied at great scale across K-12, Higher Education, and Corporate organizations. With this, we’ll start to see the measurable outcomes that can be further realized in the future.

IBM predicts that in 5 years “the classroom will learn you” as part of their IBM
“5 in 5” publication.

The convergence of the rapid digitations of the education industry and the emergence of cognitive systems to create personalized classrooms will motivate learners at all levels: from “a kindergartener studying the alphabet to a physics PhD candidate studying the finer points of String Theory.”


In the coming year, I’m excited to see so much of this progress come to life. IBM, Desire2Learn, and Gwinnett County Public Schools of Georgia have been collaborating on an analytics solution with the district’s student population records. Predictive modeling will help determine the specific content and teaching practices needed to create the best learning experience for the district’s 170,000 students.

I’m thrilled to see the industry realize the potential in these trends and developments. At D2L, we believe that an insights-driven and personal learning experience can help solve many of the problems plaguing education and workforce learning—offering us the real opportunity to transform the way the world learns.

This is the very foundation of our integrated learning platform (ILP), which we’ve built to deliver on the vision of a highly pervasive, perceptive, and personal learning experience. Check out the below video to find out more about the ILP story.

We’ve been on a path to personalization since we started D2L, and I can’t wait to see what the year ahead will bring. I look forward to more feedback from our client partners who are making personalized learning a reality today as we continue innovating for a one-size-fits-me future. I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions for personalization. Please feel free to leave a comment or connect with us on Twitter at @desire2learn.

Happy New Year!


Image © copyright IBM Research

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