Personalised Learning: Posted by Gerry White on 03 Sep 2010 at 04:59 PM
There is considerable debate and discussion on the topic of personalised learning that advocates suggest has been enabled by the use of digital technologies. Some years ago, the UK Department of Education adopted a policy of personalised education. The five key components for personalised learning outlined by the department were:
- assessment for learning
- effective teaching and learning
- curriculum entitlement and choice
- school organisation, and
- beyond the school.
However, the benefits and processes of personalised learning have remained controversial and elusive for many.
The report An Investigation of Personalised Learning Approaches used by Schools by Sebba, Brown, Steward, Galton and James (2007) for the then Department of Education and Skills was a landmark report which remains relevant today and focussed on the personalised teaching and learning approaches used in schools.
The report was comprehensive and examined the impact of personalised learning on attainment, staff development, assessment, effective teaching and learning, curriculum choice, and informal learning and social development. Thirteen schools were then highlighted to demonstrate different learning approaches citing the evidence in the schools and the features of their approaches. Some mention was made of the constraints that were found by the researchers such as flexibility of spaces, funding, time, testing and teacher overload although today we might add other issues such as teacher confidence, bandwidth and firewalls.
The themes that emerged from the findings were interesting because they reflected educational transformation arising from vision and leadership, inclusivity for all students, individualised learning within personalised learning but more importantly the centrality of student voices and their participation in learning. The emergence of a student centred focus for teaching and learning was highlighted in the case studies and reflected schools which listened to the needs and expectations of their students.
One could be forgiven for adopting Professor David Hargreaves notion that instead of personalised learning as the focus for schools that personalising teaching and learning was occurring which was the landmark finding evident throughout the report.
An Investigation of Personalised Learning Approaches used by Schools provides an excellent literature review, good case studies and an analysis of school approaches to personalising learning that would be useful for teachers and educational leaders looking for successful approaches to learning using digital technologies.
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