Personalised Learning, Pedagogy, and E-mediated Tools
Abstract In this chapter, we highlight some of the recent international debates informing personalised learning as it impacts on pedagogy, with a focus on e-mediated tools. We then reflect on the experience of being on-campus in the past, in the present, and then we look to the possible future. We consider significant challenges impeding technology adoption in higher education, drawing on a time-to-adoption frame. We provide insights into the challenges for effective pedagogy with specific focus on self-regulation, catering for diversity, and other important facets of inclusive education.
Major Areas of Debate
In this chapter, we highlight some of the recent international debates informing personalised learning as it impacts on pedagogy, with a focus on e-mediated tools. One major area of debate is the value of personalised learning, with some researchers outlining their concerns that it has become a marketing tool for promoting products. Others are concerned that it has the potential to diminish the interactive dimensions of education, while still others see the massive potential and benefits of this form of learning especially for students with diverse needs. There also appears to be confusion around the definition of personalised learning. Some view digital and communications technology as its tools, while others question whether the focus on technology limits the full potential of personalising learning. Those who are opposed to the primary focus being on technology warn that despite the apparent advantages of students being able to instantly access online information, their actions should not be mistaken for education, which is deeper and more challenging than merely accessing the required information online.
Advocates of personalised learning stress that there is more to effective student- centred learning than what can be achieved through digital technologies and environments. They stress that personalised learning often equates with customisation that can happen individually or in partnership with other learners or students working in a group to study a particular topic. There is also some discussion of the
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benefits of personalising the assessment process instead of traditional methods of assessment. Despite the ongoing support for the use of e-learning, there does not appear to be a consensus on how it works in a pedagogic sense in education. There is some evidence of the benefits of tapping into the social networks that dominate the lives of young people, in an attempt to enhance their engagement in education and improve graduation rates. The research also highlights a need for specific professional development of educators to assist them to better utilise the available resources. Despite this contention, most educators agree that schools and tertiary institutions need to become more flexible and adaptive in responding to the diverse needs and interests of their students. To commence this chapter, we will look at the past, present, and future as a lens to better understand the place of personalised learning in higher education.