Evaluating personalization

Philip Kerr, Adaptive Learning in ELT, Jul 20, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This post looks at "the constellation of meanings that are associated with the term ('personalization'), suggest a way of evaluating just how ‘personalized’ an instructional method might be, and look at recent research into ‘personalized learning’." It follows a previous post illustrating how the term has been rendered meaningless by marketers. Unfortunately, writes the author, "but perhaps not surprisingly, none of the elements that we associate with ‘personalization’ will lead to clear, demonstrable learning gains." But what counts as a gain? This is what is missing in the research. "The Gates Foundation were probably asking the wrong question. The conceptual elasticity of the term ‘personalization’ makes its operationalization in any empirical study highly problematic."

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