Another dot in the blogosphere?

False personal dichotomy

Posted on: March 5, 2019

Steve Wheeler illustrated his view on the difference between personalised and personal learning:

Personal learning, I explained, is walking across the road and doing an ad hoc tour of the buildings and artefacts to see what I could learn about the history and culture of Jerónimos. Hiring a personal guide who knows a lot more about the history and culture of the place, and touring it with him/her would be personalised learning.

Others have also contrasted the two (e.g., Will Richardson and George Couros) because they wished to push back on the type of “personalised” learning solutions from various vendors.

I, too, am skeptical of standardised approaches to truly personalised learning. But I also wonder about the false dichotomy that the debate creates.

What if someone (like a content provider or instructor) customises lessons for you? You did not initiate this, so it is neither personal nor personalised.

What if you curate your own YouTube videos, podcasts, and readings? The content is someone else’s like the guide in the story, but you made the effort to search, evaluate, and consume.

Educators seem to focus on — and have an intrinsic understanding of — personal or personalisation of learning. They often do this when they coach or tutor individual students.

But vendors claim they can personalise en masse, and this should be welcomed with a healthy dose of skepticism instead of open wallets.

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