If you have any footing in the world of education, you’ve probably heard of personalised learning. The idea of adapting learning materials to each student’s needs improves the individuals’ learning journey, and also the institution’s bottom line. In this blog, we plan to dive into the why’s and how’s of personalised learning and uncover what is it that is placing this methodology at the forefront of its industry.
What is personalised learning?
Personalised learning broadly refers to the adaptation of an individual’s learning materials in accordance with their preferred learning styles, skills, hobbies, or other interests.
The idea is that all individuals are unique, possessing their own set of goals, skills, and learning styles. This same idea is carried through most of our life, when we approach new teams, we like to know their working/collaboration style so that we can best contribute to said team. Our demeanour changes when we enter certain social situations to best fit the group. Think of how you interact with work colleagues vs. your close friends. So, when it comes to learning, it only makes sense that we adjust our learning styles to best fit the learner.
Understanding the Learner
Your ability to personalise learning is dependent on how well you can identify your students skills, roadblocks, and difficulties they may face when learning.
Luckily, this information is quite easy to compile when working with a new group of learners. Survey, interview, quiz, assessment results from induction material will get you the information needed to build successful personalised experiences.
It is only on the basis of learner information and good planning that effective personalisation is possible.
Cognitive Load Theory
Cognitive Load Theory, proposed by John Sweller, gives us an explanation as to why personalisation is an effective form of learning. His findings states that our brains are only able to hold small amounts of information at any one time and that instructional methods should complement this theory to maximise learning ability.
But what does this all mean for personalisation? By developing personalised learning, you can address the discrepancies that lie between your learners; give learners the level of learning that best suits them, align learning with learning styles, and build more meaningful and relevant courses by customising content to learners' existing knowledge.
Personalisation in overcoming cognitive load
There are various strategies used throughout personalisation that help alleviate cognitive load among learners.
Adaptive learning paths dynamically adjust learners progress, ensuring that the level of difficulty remains consistent to the learners’ abilities.
Customise learning resources offering varied formats of learning material (videos, text, interactive modules) that allow the learner to engage with and interact in a way that aligns with their cognitive preferences, reducing cognitive strain.
Microlearning and chunking breaks down complex topics into smaller bite-sized chunks that the learner can work through at their own pace. Repetition reinforces learnt concepts when it comes to microlearning, enhancing memory retention.
While there is much more to how we process information and the way our learning methods either impact or excel our ability to grasp new concepts, personalisation sits as one of the most effective and cost-saving approaches. As a business, it’s important to foster an environment that emphasises growth and skill development, to benefit both the learner and your businesses bottom line.