Personalised or Programmed? Current Practices of University Systems

Abstract This chapter explores our own experiences as a means of exploring the tensions and constraints that arise when educators seek to foster (their own developing visions of) personalised learning in their pedagogical practices, within the contexts of degree-granting university courses. In telling those stories and reflecting on those experiences, we live the history of e-mediated learning, and reflect on the tendency towards programmed learning. Finally, we draw on the Productive Pedagogies (Mills et al. 2009) framework to analyse dimensions and issues important to a productive framing of this tension between personalised and programmed approaches to learning.

Personal Experiences

Chapter 1 discussed the complex interplay between the terms personalised learning and e-mediated learning. It is possible to personalise learning without e-mediation (mediation by computer, video, telephone, or other electronic technology)—a one-on-one face-to-face tutorial session is personalised learning that may involve no electronic technology. It is, of course, possible to have e-mediated learning that is not personalised: the audience of a Technology, Entertainment, Design Talk (commonly known as TED Talk) video may watch it at different times, but the learning experience is the same for all of them, at least in terms of what the video offers (what the audience member brings to the experience may be very different). Our discussion in this chapter is largely focused on learning that is e-mediated, and that aspires to be personalised, and on some of the constraints and issues that may thwart that aspiration.

Each of us—David, Barb, and Donna—has experience of developing and teaching e-mediated courses within universities. Some of these experiences have been in the distance learning space, with students who were studying some geographical distance from where we were teaching, while in other cases we used the electronic media such as web-based discussions, videos, and other tools to enrich

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017 B. Garrick et al., Theorising Personalised Education, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-2700-0_6

the learning experiences of local students in mixed mode courses that included some face-to-face interactions.

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