Learning is Personal not Personalized

Personal learning

Will and Bruce talk deeply about one of the biggest buzz words in education: Personalized Learning. They riff on this article from Wired. Will is a long time advocate for personal learning and not personalized learning. You can read his blogs about it here and here. So, you might be wondering if there is really a difference between personalized and personal, and trust me, if you talk with Will enough, you will be convinced that there is definitely a difference.

According to Will, personal learning is a culture and a mindset. Personal learning means shifting the agency to the learner. Teachers will need to give up control.

As the conversation continues, the two discuss the amount of money people in schools are spending on technology tools that claim to personalize learning. Bruce points out that we align school with content delivery. Vendors sell neatly packaged content because they cannot sell pedagogy. No one considers how relevant that content will be in the modern world. Bruce also cautions that technology that boasts personalized learning trivializes the role of the teacher as a professional. The level of complexity necessary to create an environment where children can learn is significant. The technology tools pedaling personalized learning experiences cannot take those things into consideration. The conversation ends with Bruce encouraging teachers, parents, administrators, and even students to have more critical conversations about the need to think more deeply about  what the learning environment should be for their kids and it shouldn’t just be about picking up the latest and greatest personalized learning application.

We’d love to know what you think about this. Please head over to our Facebook group and leave a comment.  Also, if you’d like to know more about 10 Principles for Schools of Modern Learning, grab the white paper here.

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Melissa Emler

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