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, Powering UK Higher Education, 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 why is this space important to the sector? When we developed the HE strategy, we listened to what the sector was saying, what it was telling us, what we saw, and we also looked at the wider sector context, the regulatory space, the political space and importantly the student voice in all this.
We know that universities are wanting to put the needs of the student are at the heart of the student experience. They want students to benefit from a personalised learning experience, one that effortlessly melds the context, preferences and needs of the individual learner. It recognises who and where a student is on their journey and is a combination of human and digital interactions and interventions.
Though we have yet to come to a shared understanding of personalisation of learning, I do find an adaptation of the QAA definition somewhat compelling.
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.
Over the next few years Jisc will explore how universities can deliver personalised and adaptive learning. Jisc will start to develop solutions that help universities deliver personalised and adaptive learning. These solutions will take advantage of data, analytics, underpinning technologies and digital resources. As well as exploring the potential of current and future technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). We will consider some of the advantages, as well as the challenges, the ethical and legal issues and how we will need to be aware of the bias that can be found in algorithms.
Of course personalisation is only part of the challenge, can we make the experience adaptive? Well that’s another blog post on understanding what we mean by adaptive.