Personalised learning : emerging issues from literature

 

Personalisation may be seen from multiple perspectives (including from policy, pedogogical, ideological perspectives), at the heart of personalisation is a consideration of learner need but in addition personalisation is separated from learner centredness by an emphasis on learner voice and real learner empowerment, having more control than over self but rather a control in shaping the system. From my review of personalised learning it can be seen that there is a shortage of research on this topic within higher education. Most of the work on personalisation occurs in school based contexts, only Laurillard’s research is situated within a higher education context. Clearly then research on the possibility and prospects of personalised learning in higher education is needed. In addition whilst there are conceptual models of learner empowerment (central to personalisation) these are limited as they look in at the experience and do not account for multiple realities, for example assuming that learners will use the opportunities for empowerment to similar degrees, moreover they are again school based. One way in which there was seen as great potential to assist the personalisation process was through technology. This aspect of personalisation will receive specific attention later in the review, partly because of its place importance in the research context but also because of the weight of importance attached to the idea of technology for personalisation within literature. There is a clear tendency within the literature to accept the founding principles as desirable. Taylor’s analysis adds caution to this ready acceptance, according to Taylor the personailsation movement results in a loss of subject knowledge, a degradation of teaching, the limiting of curiosity and a move to subordinate abstract knowledge in concluding Taylor remarked that learners are “waiting to be taught”. The implications of such criticality are that it must not be taken for granted in research design that personalisation is desirable by all and space for an anti voice to be heard to establish whether indeed learners are waiting must be made in new research.  

Taylor’s lone voice of criticality has been an important step in breaking the dangerously untouchable nature of personalisation … though clearly from a view of learning which high on principle and clear about the nature of knowledge … it is an important because is does not accept and can stimulate debate.

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