Replace one-size-fits-all approach with online personalised learning

– Vinay Singh, Executive Director and CEO, Thomson Digital

Each individual is unique. Different passions, skills, talents, desires, emotions and goals are what separate one individual from the other. So, the big question here is can a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach lead to holistic nurturing of the young minds? The answer is a simple no. 

While online learning today has expanded the horizon of opportunities, personalisation has made it possible to bridge the existing gaps by prioritising the different needs and abilities of the learners. Tailored education helps to look at learning through a wider lens by focusing on an individual’s social, emotional, and physical development. Simply put, the basic idea is to offer a dedicated or personalized learning experience for each student to nurture his or her skills, preferences, abilities, talents and experiences for overall growth. This approach encourages opening of new roads leading to a single goal of holistic development which the students can accomplish at their own pace. 

​Moreover, ​​technology today has simplified the complexities of traditional learning. Without replacing the overall traditional learning system or methods, it is providing online learning as an add-on for holistic growth of students. This has added more room to offer flexibility where learners can effectively develop skills, reaping the extra benefits of online learning while following their regular classes in educational institutions.

A personalized approach in online education delivery supports the learners in making their own decisions​ and gives them an option of what they want​. This ​ also provides instant ​and meaningful feedback to the learners. ​It makes the entire learning process more student centric as the students can interact, solve doubts, ask questions, assess growth, and focus on areas of improvements. In many ways, digital and personalized learning is key to improve student outcomes and narrow achievement gaps at scale.

​​Enhances learning and retention: Personalised learning helps students in yielding better outcomes as it improves their learning abilities and retention. It is engaging, interactive, relevant and memorable, and helps the students to recall the information better. This method ​supports them to progress at their own speed without any pressure or external constraints. As each individual has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, digital learning provides the option of learning more in areas in which they excel and dedicate​ more​ time to work on their weak zones.  This way of meaningful learning motivates them to learn and ultimately succeed in their respective careers.

Dedicated approach for different interests: Personalisation provides students enough time to learn subjects of their own choice. They can go through a range of options and pick those which work best for their interests and career.  Each student carries different interests and talents, and this approach helps them to identify the opportunities better. With the help of various learning tools and strategies, they can highlight their abilities and push themselves to achieve their goals.

​​Better student engagement: Digital learning results in better student engagement as it focuses on their needs, aspirations, skills, and interests. In digital learning model, the students can access learning content through mobiles, laptops or other devices anytime, anywhere. They can also communicate with teachers or mentors easily for clearing doubts and problem solving and proceed without any roadblocks. Also, technology can help students learn around real-world challenges with a project-based approach for personal growth as well. They can utilize a range of digital devices and other resources to easily interact, engage with complex concepts in a simple and hassle-free way.

​Timely feedback: One of the key advantages of personalized, digital learning is timely and relevant feedback.  Providing meaningful feedback instantly can help learners to learn from their mistakes and improve on their weak areas for better outcomes. Additionally, it also encourages them to accelerate their progress and be more competent.  Also, the online educators can use insights to map the growth of students and through interactive tools like instant messaging, online or video calling features can provide real time feedback and correct their mistakes.

Technology has unlocked new pathways to deliver education in a variety of ways. The focus has completely shifted towards improving learning with a personalized approach to support students and improve access to quality education. It is being used to empower students by giving them more choices and prepare them for the rest of their lives by identifying their skills, talents and opportunities. Personalised learning has already eliminated the bottlenecks of conventional teaching methods and going forward, this will greatly help students to build a future of their choice and live a meaningful life.

Also read: New era of blended learning has begun

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