Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook – if any of these appear in your list of recently used apps, you have most likely experienced personalization. Personalized content, customization, and tailored services are some of the buzzwords that have set user expectations at high levels. Personalization has infiltrated most industries with the Higher Education sector being no exception.
The higher education sector has accelerated the adoption of new technologies and methodologies into the learning process with personalized learning turning out to be a favorite in the recent past, especially during this digital education revolution. The world of academia is becoming more personalized and the industry has well embraced this movement thanks to recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.
Personalized learning is an approach that involves customizing a student’s learning experience based on certain factors which include, but may not be limited to, a student’s strengths, needs, interests, aspirations, abilities, cultural backgrounds, etc. The simple end goal of incorporating this is to have more students succeed in their studies.
AI and data are the cornerstones in the process of creating personalized content and accommodating personal preferences and learning styles for each of the students. Taking learning experiences a notch higher with AI also means expanding the scope of the effectiveness of learning content, and the availability of flexible modes of instruction, mainly online learning, via laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
For example, in Coursera (a popular massive open online course (MOOC) provider), when a high proportion of students get the answer to a question wrong, the system alerts the course instructor of the situation so that the necessary corrective action can be taken.
The primary ingredient of personalized learning is a large amount of data. An ethical, secure, and transparent way of collecting and processing student data is essential. Thus, by harnessing the power of AI and data, personalized learning experiences can be created for students, which in turn address most of the challenges faced by universities, including high dropout rates, disengaged students and the ineffectiveness of the traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning.
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