Learning: It’s Personal

Personalized education, according to research from the Project Horizon Report, means that people expect to learn, work, socialize, and play whenever and wherever they want to. There’s no place for 10 – 40 minute, single subject periods in schools in 2017 and beyond.

Thus, I believe it’s true when Prakash Nair boldly states this as a fact: Traditional classrooms, if not all, are obsolete, and it’s time for something new. I agree with Nair and the research that states:

Environmental scientists have published dozens of studies that show a close correlation between human productivity and space design. This research clearly demonstrates that students and teachers do better when they have variety, flexibility, and comfort in their environment—the very qualities that classrooms lack.

This idea that classrooms are obsolete is directly related to technology. Learning is too personal now and does not fit in a classroom. So, really, education is already changing, as we knew it.

Let’s look at the two trends described as the “future” of education in this week’s readings.

MOOCs have been around awhile. They offer choice, self direction, and ease in connecting with information and peers… There’s mixed feedback on how they’re developing along. I do remember being astounded years ago, receiving an email letting me know that I could take courses at Princeton. Thanks to COETAIL I actually signed up for one this week just to have a look-see. I downloaded the coursera app and enrolled in class about bitcoin, offered at Princeton. I don’t plan on taking the course, but I did get a feel for how it works. Seems to be similar to flipped learning, really. Lectures and assignments are all posted and can be viewed whenever I want. I believe what might make it much different from Flipped learning is that there is no physical collaboration time. Instead, it’s up to the student to make connections with other students to extend learning through discussions and assignments. If I was retired, I know what I’d be doing…

MOOCs are clearly a derivative of connectivist learning.

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions..
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources. (kinda like cohort learning)
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known (peer connections)
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning. (peer feedback)
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities. (real time)

Listen to Stephen Downes give a review on where connectivism is right now and where it’s going. He also highlights that MOOCs have grown in popularity, doubling popularity from 2014 to 2015.

Beyond MOOCs, education will continue to change, as Downes relates, to personalized learning where students control “pace, place, and approach.” As teachers, we’ll need to be organized, current,  offering a variety of tools for communication, collaboration, and assessment. It’s overwhelming.

This control of pace, place, and approach brings us to badging.


Badging is popular online, as a way for people to receive recognition for learning (or accomplishments) There are online platforms we can use, as teachers, like Youtopia, to create systems for our students to learn, and, hopefully, get excited to learn more (and earn more).

Dan Pink swears that there are better ways to (scientifically proven) to motivate people. It’s black and white, he says.

While Dan Pink’s argument is more than compelling, I do wonder, if it’s OK to ignore the science he presents. What’s wrong with trying something, even if it’s not perfect science? The reward system could still inspire some learning, albeit not the best. Is that terrible to say?

This argument is worth exploring.

Will education as we know it change because of technology? Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?

As environments, assignments, assessments, and networks increasingly become more personalized, we can’t talk about the future of education without mentioning augmented reality (or a Ted Talk, sorry).

What does this mean for us?


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