One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Personalizing Education in 2015
Learning Tools Children are innately curious about the world around them, and are constantly learning. They do not, however, all learn in the same way.
Schools were set up to teach students as if they all learn the same way. Imported from Europe and promulgated by education reformer Horace Mann in the 1800s, our factory model of education puts children into age-based classrooms and uses seat time to determine when they are ready to advance. Students have been forced to adapt to “the system,” a massive bureaucracy they barely comprehend, when what students really need is for the system to adapt to them.
Replacing the textbook
Each student is unique and their learning paths should be as well. This is the purpose of computer adaptive learning, an educational method that uses digital tools and advanced analytics to create real-time personalized lessons for each learner.
"Each student is unique and their learning paths should be as well."
By replacing traditional textbooks with advanced adaptive learning materials, we can achieve things that not long ago would have seemed like magic.
Today, there are organizations producing software that can pinpoint a student’s mastery of virtually any concept, down to the percentile, along with how a student best learns a given concept and the perfect piece of content to put in front of any particular student.
For example, If your daughter is better at math than she thinks, we can now tell you—and tell you how we know. If your son is more engaged by science if it’s delivered with a blend of text, instructional video and practice questions, we’ll deliver it that way.
It’s a one-time windfall: a tectonic shift in the efficacy of learning materials as they transition from print to digital. No longer one-size-fits-all, but uniquely personalized education for all.