Personalised Learning… Or Not?

September Issue

CAPDM Newsletter


CAPDM Strength

Personalising Learning

Dear Reader,

CAPDM has been promoting and developing online education for over 20 years. At the heart of everything we do is a richness of content, and mechanisms for feedback and personalisation of delivery. You can see how we approach this cognitive richness and personalisation in this?Look.Book?publication.

Our approach was inspired by the work, thirty years ago, of Benjamin Bloom who posed a challenge to the learning sciences community: how to replicate the effectiveness of one-to-one tutoring in a more cost-effective, scalable way (the 2 Sigma problem)? In his study he noted that students who learned a topic through tutoring, plus regular formative assessment, performed two standard deviations (98%) better than students who received conventional classroom instruction. Personalisation, but too expensive to scale: could we use technology to help?

Last week we read two contrasting reports. First, a McKinsey report on ?How to scale personalized learning? which contained some obvious quotes: ?The adoption of personalised learning at scale requires major changes in how teachers and others in the system operate.? The report obviously promoted a personalized focus, though it perhaps had more of a business agenda than a learning one?

However we also read a second report from New Zealand promoting arguments for ?Don?t personalize learning? that was much more cautious, particularly with the idea that students have multiple learning styles. Students certainly have different cognitive styles, the way that content is delivered is crucial and is a more important driver than learning styles.

Simply having tutors online does not help with cognitive input, and it does not scale. It is important to have rich content, delivered to maximise cognitive input coupled with:
(i) subtle, but meaningful, feedback, progress reporting;
(ii) a degree of personalisation providing adaptive study paths and targeted formative assessments.

Bloom?s findings are an eye-opener. You can see how our developments relate directly to the personalisation that Bloom researched, but also how they still actually satisfy the findings of both of these seemingly contrasting reports. We can help you follow this same strategic path.

Please do get in touch to see how we can help you to personalise your learning.

Email me now.

Ken Currie
Director, CAPDM Ltd.


About the author
Ken Currie has been working with universities for over 25 years developing their strategies and businesses in online distance learning (ODL). In the early 1990s, he was the key designer/developer of the globally successful Heriot-Watt online MBA and undergraduate Management Programme, and has continued to develop ODL businesses with other institutions in the UK and beyond. In recent times he helped to initiate ?Global Online? at Edinburgh Napier, and the ?One World? MBA at West of Scotland universities, and currently works closely with the University of London?s International Academy.


CAPDM Case Study

Transnational Online Education

University West of Scotland

Our involvement in building?a coherent content domain for UWS’ MBA,?incorporating recognised texts from a number of the big publishers.

CAPDM Case Study

A New World Class

Edinburgh Napier University

How we helped ENU build their Global Online programme, which is now supporting over 1,000 students worldwide.

This newsletter was originally sent by CAPDM Ltd. on the 20. September 2016.

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