The aim of personalised learning is to empower students to take control of their own learning trajectories, while an instructor acts as a guide. Historically, this aim has generally been pursued through one-to-one tutoring. Thanks to digital technology however, personalised learning in the classroom is becoming increasingly attainable, even where large groups of learners are involved.
Personalised learning strategies are made possible in group teaching through the delivery of blended learning. This involves combining traditional, face-to-face teaching with digital and online learning. With this approach, learners can choose from an array of available learning activities, selecting those which best suit their own requirements and abilities.
Providing a range of activities and learning methods might sound like a lot of work for the instructor, but digital solutions make it easier than ever before. The possibilities for enhancing classroom learning using digital tools just keep growing. Personalised learning technology can be leveraged to allow learners to access materials and communicate with each other and their instructors in their own time, in a virtual space. This can have the added bonus of freeing up classroom time for practising skills.
Online learning environments are great for enhancing communication, and can be used to foster collaboration amongst learners, and between learners and instructors, allowing for the development and sharing of resources and ideas. Effective collaboration has the potential to significantly improve both teaching and learning practice over time, so it’s well worth pursuing.
Technology can also help the instructor, by facilitating the collection of data regarding learner engagement and performance in online activities. Information accessed in this way can help an instructor to monitor the outcomes of their teaching and to adapt teaching methods and content where necessary. Data collection can take place using various routes, including
- Discussion threads
- Monitored progress on shared documents stored in the cloud
Advantages for learners in using digital learning include the ability to choose their modes of interaction with learning content. They can read and annotate text files on a screen or work with printed copies. They may also have the option of taking digitally recorded and stored voice and video notes, if this suits their requirements better than text.
The type of content provided can be varied too. Video or sound recordings can be particularly valuable resources. Unlike traditional face-to-face lectures, they carry the advantage of being able to be paused and rewound as required by the learner. Resources stored digitally can also be accessed at any time and are therefore available for review as needed. The chance to ask questions need not be lost either, because communication channels with an instructor can be provided separately, either online or face-to-face.
Digital technology allows for the provision of flexible learning solutions, with endless possibilities for engagement and communication. Instructors and learners can tailor these solutions to their own requirements, in limitless learning contexts. What’s more, the technological skills developed while working in online learning environments are likely to prove beneficial in other areas of our increasingly digital world.