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The process of making something suitable for the needs of a particular person.

What do we mean by personalisation, what can we personalise, what should be personalise and what are the challenges in personalisation?

Across higher education over the years many have spoken about personalisation.

The QAA in their digital taxonomy define personalisation as follows:

Personalised learning is an educational approach that aims to customise learning for each student’s strengths, needs, skills and interests. Students can have a degree of choice in how they learn as compared to the face-to-face lecture approach.

The document explores different levels of personalisation through the use of digital and arrives at this view of personalisation

The entire learning experience is designed to be personalised by the student. Students will determine how they engage with every aspect of teaching and learning to meet their expectations. While all digital resources will be available to students, not all students will engage with those resources in the same way. Teaching is designed to be experienced by a cohort asynchronously with students learning at their own pace.

Advance HE back in 2017 said this about personalised learning

Refers to a range of learning experiences and teaching strategies which aim to address the differing learning needs interests and the diverse backgrounds of learners. Often described as student centred learning this approach uses differentiated learning and instruction to tailor the curriculum according to need. Learners within the same classroom or on the same course work together with shared purpose but each have their own personalised journey through the curriculum.

Emerge and Jisc published a report in 2021 that promised:

Universities can deliver students a truly personalised learning experience by 2030

Another view of personalised learning is this perspective from the University of Oxford.

Oxford’s core teaching is based around conversations, normally between two or three students and their tutor, who is an expert on that topic. We call these tutorials, and it’s your chance to talk in-depth about your subject and to receive individual feedback on your work. Tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. They offer a very rare level of personalised attention from academic experts.

In my role at Jisc I have been looking at how data and technology can deliver a personalised learning journey and we have in our HE strategy the following ambition statement.

We will explore and develop solutions to help universities deliver personalised and adaptive learning using data, analytics, underpinning technologies and digital resources.

We know that there are very different opinions and views of what personalised learning is. In exploring and developing solutions for universities, the key is not necessarily to come up with a definitive definition, but what definition you use is understood and shared with others.

So one of the things I do need to do is to take that ambition statement and expand it into a clear explanatory statement, so that key stakeholders are clear about what we mean and why this space is important to higher education.

So what does personalisation mean for you?

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