Personalization of education and learning

What should our future education be aiming for?  Massification of education or personalization of learning?

In this paper on Instructional Theory by Reigeluth C. (2012), he highlights the need of having more personalized approach towards learning, through a post-industralist instructional approach, where learner becomes the centre for learning.

In this Mastery Learning and this paper on Mastery Learning, there are benefits of adopting its philosophy in MOOCs.  That’s also the central pedagogy adopted by most xMOOCs providers.

As I have shared in my previous post, students may master what is expected to be learnt if all teachers are teaching solely to the test.  However, it seems that many people might have mis-understood the initial intention of Mastery Learning, where the intention is NOT to ask the teacher to teach only those concepts for the sake of assessment or testing, but to allow the learners to master their learning at their own pace, in a progressive manner with immediate feedback in order to reinforce their understanding of concepts, and to correct any mis-understood concepts where possible.  Besides, Mastery Learning could be effectively employed in a mentoring and apprenticeship program where the mentor could guide the mentee through the program.

The future of education though would lie with personalization rather than massification of education as Aoki concludes here

This massification of online education appears to go in an opposite direction to personalization that elearning and use of ICT in education should aim for the purpose of providing more effective individualized learning experiences to learners.

How to progress from massification to personalization of online education?  I have shared that here.

Giving  students the correct answers strict away may sound a good instructional approach towards teaching.  However, have the students learnt how to arrive to those calculations?  Have the students mastered the concepts CORRECTLY?  How do we know if the students could apply their skills and transfer them from one area to another, in solving problems?

Aoki elaborates further on how personalization of learning could be achieved:

With the vast amount of data gathered through learners, personalization will become possible eventually with proper learning analytics and data mining. Furthermore, quality of learning outcomes may be further assured with the evidence of learning.

Are men and women different in expressing their opinions in social media?

Interesting to learn about the xMOOCs as reported by Mure on edX president predicts an online learning transformation – as evisioned by Professor Agnant Agarwal.

This is what we have found in “our” research: The research highlighted a difference between men and women in terms of their communication styles and preferences. Women tended to look for similarities or commonalities (i.e., in issues of language) that could become a source of bonding. In contrast, some men had a tendency to practice one-upmanship, in the sense of trying to keep one step ahead of other participants as competitors. Men were more task-oriented in their use of language, while women put more emphasis on socioemotional dimensions. (Kop, Fournier & Mak, 2011)

As Mary suggested: “Hard on problem, soft on people”.

There are now so many “opinion” & “marketing” pieces in media that many of us (including me) seem to be prophesizing with or without much evidences.  There are certain truths embedded in each claim : technology surely would enhance education and learning.

My questions are:

1. “How do we know we could transform the world of education with online education?”

2. “What is the theory behind such prediction?”

3. “Is the theory of disruptive innovation as proposed by Clayton Christensen predicting what we are experiencing?”

4. “Who have influenced the MOOC movement?”

Whilst I would anticipate that there would be a diversity of opinions on the above questions, I could only explain that we are now likely influenced by the “opinion pieces” in the major media, where the “super-star” professors and those in power in the media would likely be able to “convince” us well beforehand what would be a transformation of education.

Did we predict that in 2008?

I have great respects on many of the pioneers in xMOOCs – Agnant Agarwal, Andrew Ng, Daphne Koller, so please take these as questions, not as a way to dilute their assertions.

I also believe that men are more task – oriented, in that males are more than happy to “forge” their views and opinions than women.  Take a look at most of the news and media posts in most Higher Ed..  How many strong opinion pieces are written by males compared to females?  Male bloggers tend to include lots of evidences (despite that they are all re-mixed, re-purposed views and opinions) in their posts, but they are practically having the same message – a proponent or opponent of MOOCs.  On the other hand, female authors and bloggers are generally more careful in crafting their views and sharing them in blogs or major media.  They tend to hit the soioemotional dimensions, with a light touch on people, but great in rhetorical presentations.

I know this may be overly generalized, but it seems to be reflective of reality, as I have observed that in the decades of teaching and learning, and that throughout the MOOCs since 2008.  What do you think?