Personalisation, just some thoughts

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I have been looking at what we mean by personalisation in higher education. What I have discovered is that there isn’t really any clear idea or definition of what we mean by personalisation and across the sector there are varied views and opinions about what is personalisation, what can be personalised, and importantly why we would do this.

In this blog post I am not trying to come up with a definition of personalisation, nor am I proposing what it definitively means for higher education. No, this post is much more some of my recent thinking on the issue and what personalisation could mean for higher education.

In many ways the sector already has personalisation, the student journey for each student, though common in many areas, is pretty much unique to each individual student.

There are reasons why universities might want to be more explicit in how they personalise the student journey. These may include equity, inclusion, adaptation, enhancement, efficiency, and other reasons. Obviously though you might want to allow all of the student journey to be personalised, the reality is that a fully personalised student journey isn’t practical or affordable.

Reviewing the student journey, there will be touchpoints, where the student interacts and engages with the university. Across those touchpoints the university will need to decide which touchpoints:

  • Don’t need to be personalised.
  • Must be personalised
  • Should be personalised
  • Could be personalised

This will then allow those touchpoints to be prioritised.

In addition the level of personalisation would need to be considered, what changes would have to be made and the subsequent impact of those changes. What are the variables across the touchpoints and what does personalisation look and feel like for students for all the touchpoints.

I am interested in how data, digital, and technology can help and support this process. Certainly from a data and analytics perspective, the ability to record those touchpoints and the changes that arise from personalisation.

From my perspective, the next stage will be is, what is the role of an organisation like Jisc in the process of personalisation.

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