Home > Community Colleges, Distance Education, Global Education, Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > The World Is My School: Welcome to the Era of Personalized Learning

The World Is My School: Welcome to the Era of Personalized Learning

By Maria H. Andersen

Humans have always been learning, but how we learn has changed over time. The earliest means of education were highly personal: Oral histories passed from adults to children, informal or formal apprenticeships, and one-on-one tutoring have all been used in the early history of most cultures. It’s only been in the last two centuries that we’ve used formalized systems of mass public education (aka industrialized education).

Certainly, personalized learning is the more effective method. In 1984, educational researcher Benjamin Bloom found that average students who were tutored one-on-one outperformed 98% of students who were learning via conventional methods (this is referred to as Bloom’s two-sigma problem). However, personal learning is not cost-effective, and so we currently educate students in batches of 20, 30, or even 200 students at a time. This is likely to get worse before it gets better, with prominent philanthropists like Bill Gates declaring that “the best lectures in the world” will be online within the next five years. Certainly we can use technology to deliver those lectures to thousands, or even millions, of students at a time, but a lecture does not automatically produce learning any more than attending a class does.

Continued at: http://www.wfs.org/content/world-is-my-school

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