Tag Archives: personalisation

Getting it wrong – Weeknote #160 – 25th March 2022

I spent the week working from home, there was a combination of factors which influenced this decision, from home-schooling, builders, and plumbers. Next week I am in Manchester for the UCISA Leadership conference.

I spent some of the week working on a new sector group that can provide feedback to Jisc. This group will advise on Jisc’s strategic direction in the support of learning, teaching and assessment, and the student experience in higher education, and help to inform and shape the implementation of the HE sector strategy:

  • Advising on the current state of play and future direction of learning, teaching and assessment in the HE sector
  • Reflecting the views and user needs of senior managers in learning, teaching and student experience, as Jisc members and stakeholders
  • Helping to define the kinds of (digital) products, services, support, and sector engagement/advocacy which will be most beneficial to universities.

The Office for Students (OfS) launched their new strategy targeting quality and standards.

The OfS’s work on quality and standards aims to ensure that students receive a high quality academic experience which improves their knowledge and skills. Much provision in the English higher education sector is excellent – the focus of the OfS will be on challenging provision that falls short, and taking action as needed. On access and participation work, the OfS will encourage higher education providers to work in partnership with schools to raise attainment. These two areas of focus are mutually reinforcing, with effective regulation of quality helping to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the support they need to succeed in and beyond higher education.

From my perspective in supporting the OfS strategy is how digital and technology can support improving the quality of the student experience and widen participation in higher education.

OfS has also commissioned a report on the quality and impact of blended learning. I found this Wonkhe articleinteresting on how David Kernohan still hasn’t got over the last one

A notably independent review chair has been asked to produce a report drawing on evidence from the sector and from the wider literature. Because we need to know what “good” looks like in this mode of provision, so the regulator can ensure students are getting value for their fees.

David reminds us that a year ago the OfS published Gravity Assist.

Gravity Assist

Michael Barber could cite literature suggesting that blended learning may lead to better learning outcomes than in person alone, but as far as the national conversation is concerned this is now a deliberate ploy by universities to educate students on the cheap.

David continues…

Enter Susan Orr. Shortly to take up a Pro Vice Chancellor role at De Montfort University, and a creative arts educator and researcher of some repute, she – alongside an expert panel with membership yet to be determined – will report in the summer on: concerns that the poor quality of the online experience for some students during the pandemic has undermined the positive potential of mixing in-person and online course delivery

David’s conclusion is that Michael Barber must have got it wrong.

Campus
Image by Edgar Winkler from Pixabay

I had a meeting about updating the Jisc guide to the intelligent campus. We originally published the guide in 2017. This was at the time well received by the sector and continues to be the core guidance in this space. Since then, universities across the UK have been exploring how they can make their campuses smarter and intelligent.

Dr Kris Bloomfield (at the time CIO Durham) said of the guide This is an outstanding piece of work and massive kudos is due to those that contributed to the development and publication of this document.

As well as the guide there were numerous use cases that showed how the higher education sector could benefit from the intelligent campus concept.

Though I changed roles in March 2019, I have been talking about the intelligent campus space at various events. In July 2021 I spoke at the QAA conference with a presentation entitled: How will the growth in online learning shape the future design of learning spaces and our campuses? Last month I spoke at The Future of the Higher Education Estateonline event.

Obviously the covid pandemic had a huge impact on the university campus and how it was and will be used in the future. In last few years I have written some more posts about that aspect.

Intelligent Campus and coronavirus planning was a blog post on how the concept of the Intelligent Campus could help universities in their planning. I was reflecting how if the concept of the intelligent campus was further advanced than it is, how potentially more helpful it could be to support universities planning for a socially distanced campus.

The Intelligent Learning Space was a post based on my experiences on the Intelligent Campus project. As we design learning spaces, we can add sensors and mechanisms to collect data on the use of those learning spaces. It then how we analyse and use that data that allows those spaces to be initially smart and then intelligent.

campus
Image by 小亭 江 from Pixabay

Since the guide was published, there have been many changes to the landscape, as well as the covid-19 pandemic, there have been advances in smart campus technologies, and a new range of use cases.  We know from sector intelligence, member voice and Learning and Teaching Reimagined that the future of the campus is an important component when it comes to digital transformation. This has shown the need for Jisc to update their advice and guidance in this area.

This work would:

  • update the guide to reflect current thinking
  • add additional case studies from current practice
group
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I expanded on my previous post on personalisation by looking at Jisc’s sector strategy perspective of personalisationand what Jisc may do in this space. 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.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Expanding our understanding of personalisation

typing
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

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.

group
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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.

Making it personal – Weeknote #157 – 4th March 2022

For the first time in at least two years (if not longer) I spent three days in a row at our Bristol office. The office was much busier than it has been on previous visits, and there was a (little) bit of a buzz in there. I did have a few in-person ad hoc interactions with people, who I might not interact with online. You can create these online, but it isn’t easy.

I was asked if I preferred working from home, or working in the office. My response was I prefer to have the choice. The challenge I found with lockdown, was that I had no choice. Though I have preferences about space when I have specific things I need to do, I really quite like working in different environments and spaces.

I had to upgrade the Twitter client on my iPad. The old one, which I liked kept crashing and I couldn’t get it to stop. The new one, I do not like.

group
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I posted a blog post on my early thinking about personalisation.

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

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. 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.

The ICC in Birmingham
The ICC in Birmingham

I have been preparing for Digifest next week where I will be attending both days.

I am also speaking at Digifest on Wednesday9th March 2022 from 11:45 – 12:30 in Hall 7B.

In this session, James will showcase Jisc’s HE sector strategy, Powering HE, and why and how we developed the strategy. He will explore what Jisc is doing and planning to do in the HE teaching and learning space. He will bring the session together with the impact the strategy is having on university members across the UK.

I enjoyed the WonkHE 404 page.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Personalisation

group
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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?

Personalisation of Assessment

Traditional assessment models in education often not only clarify the learning outcomes from the assessment, but also the mode of assessment.

For example

Write an essay on the impact of shrinking consumer income on supermarkets.

The learning outcome is quite clearly demonstrate your understanding of how falling consumer incomes will impact on the supermarket business.

But why does it have to be supermarkets?

But why does it have to be an essay?

Couldn’t the learner choose and be actively involved in designing their own assessment and therefore their own learning.

One learner may for example want to produce a radio show (podcast) which demonstrates that they understand how falling consumer incomes will impact on radio stations.

Another learner may want to have an online discussion with others on the impact of falling incomes on the places where they work.

Of course this may make assessment more challenging for the assessor, so how do we deal with that?

Personalised Learning – a challenge

The US National Academy of Engineering asked eighteen influential thinkers what they thought were the great technological challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.Personalised Learning - a challenge

Now while the press like the BBC have focussed on the nanobots and artificial intelligence papers, the one that (obviously) interested me was the challenge of personalised learning.

Some learners are highly self-motivated and self-driven, learning best by exploring a realm of knowledge on their own or at least with very little guidance. Other learners prefer some coaching and a more structured approach; they are typically self-motivated when the subject matter appeals to their interests. Still another type is more often motivated by external rewards and may learn best with step-by-step instruction. Some may resist learning altogether and have little motivation or interest in achieving goals established by others.

These general categorizations provide a base for developing personalized instruction, but truly personalized learning could be even more subtly individualized. Within the basic types of learners, some prefer to learn by example, others by finding answers to questions, and others by solving problems on their own. Under different conditions, people might even switch their preferences, preferring examples in some contexts but questions in others.

Read the full article.