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Personalising the personalised learning – are we doing it right?

Anjli Jain
11th Sep 2018
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We invented the wheel to travel to distant places, newspapers to ensure massive news reach, electric bulbs to light up the dark nights, and what not! Look around and you’ll indeed end up appreciating an invention or two which makes our lives easy every day. But the unsettling questions that stay prevalent are – Is the education sector leveraging technology advancements to its fullest? Are we able to provide students with state-of-the-art technology aids to enable better learning experiences? The answer is neither a no nor a complete yes.

Where diverse sectors are making the most of cutting-edge technologies, the education sector seems to have taken a back seat, surely not for good. Sectors like media and advertisement, B2B, transportation, and finance stand among the most digitized industries, clearly acting as idols for the education industry. There are still places in this world where one-room classrooms for all and chalk-and-boards system are the only learning methodologies followed. Where are we?

Do you know around 74 percent of teachers think that the addition of technology in the education sector helps them reinforce their lessons? There are different ways in which the incorporation of technology additions in the education system can be useful for institutions. Where many are already benefiting their students with the same, the left-outs still need a great push to embrace the change. The inclusion of technologies like AR/VR, AI, IoT, robotics, blockchain, etc. is among the few blessings that can help in better learning outcomes and improved student success rates.

Having said that, ensuring technology inclusions per the students’ needs and requirements cannot be overlooked. After all, there is no use of introducing algebra to a kindergarten student who can hardly count on fingers.

Inventing tools for personalization

Whenever we have a problem with doing something, we discover a tool, just like the greatest inventions over time, be it the telephone or electricity. Now, think about personalized learning at a place where there is one teacher assigned to a class of 50 students. Do you think one-to-one learning is possible? Yes, you can nod in a no!

But thanks to adaptive learning software, teachers can provide the right lessons to the right students at the right time. In an adaptive learning environment, students are provided with assistance on the lessons they need help with. With the help of technology, it is possible to accurately assess the learning graphs, analyze the same, and come up with tailor-made solutions.

With the help of true adaptive learning software, students can have their own personalized learning paths. Students can have modified learning programmes per their learning and progress curve and this can help the teacher track the improvement as well. Be it one or a 100, teachers can analyze and see the improvement of many students at a time. A must-have tool for institutions, isn’t it?

Adding a personal touch to personalized learning

Per a report, 73 percent of the teachers say that they are using tablets every day in their classrooms and 86 percent of the teachers say they have WiFi accessibility in their classrooms. However, the downside is also true, that teachers believe 61 percent of the students feel less active physically due to tech additions. Having all these tools to help students improve their learning outcomes is great. Even the overwhelming addition of such tools in the education system is soothing to education leaders. But what about creating the love for learning in students? How about fostering a passion for grasping new things and respect for classmates?

What do you think about metacognition? Yes, all these questions impel us to think about the missing personal touch in our sought-after ‘personalized learning’.

A human touch is imperative to ensure that we do not lose track of our goals. I think personalized learning tools blended with the teacher’s knowledge, expertise, and emotional touch are undoubtedly one of the best ways out there for a better student learning experience.

The bottom line

Something boring on paper can be boring on the computer screen as well (pointing fingers at incompetent tech additions). To overturn such situations, one must figure out the learning methodologies first and then see the visible loopholes, and eventually come up with customized learning solutions. One size doesn’t fit all. This is when personalized learning comes into play!

Tech-enabled analysis of students’ learning graphs with a blend of teaching assistance can do wonders in uplifting the student success outcomes. Needless to say, personalizing the personalized learning is of utmost importance to leverage the technology supplements at its best. Have you implemented this yet?

Anjli Jain is Managing Partner at EVC Ventures, a Venture Capital fund focused globally on growth stage startups.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Anjli Jain
Anjli Jain is a Managing Partner at EVC Ventures, a $50 million Chicago-based Venture Capital fund and the Founder & Chairman of Campus Consortium, a global consortium of 2000+ colleges and universities. In 2011, Anjli was a recipient of the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club's Northeast Ohio Top 25 Under 35 Movers & Shaker Award. She has also been recognized among the top women Venture Capitalists by WomenVC. As a female tech entrepreneur, investor and social activist, her goal has always been to inspire and support entrepreneurs who are interested in revolutionizing the way the world learns.

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