Educational trends from K-12 to the business world are favoring personalized learning strategies.
In The Atlantic, Tim Newcomb in asks, "Will Personalized Learning Become the New Normal?" The article focuses on Rhode Island's efforts in K-12, and starts out with a good definition of personalized learning: "Broadly speaking, personalized learning tailors the instruction, content, pace, and testing to the individual student’s strengths and interests, using technology, data, and continuous feedback to make that customization possible."
There is big money going into personalized learning, with backing from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gates Foundation. At this stage, the funding is still very research-oriented, with a focus on generating data in real classroom situations. The new statewide programs will expand on what has been, until now, a limited research effort:
Existing research on personalized learning is limited in both depth and scope, and often tied to smaller efforts. According to Education Week, the most comprehensive study to date was conducted by the Rand Corporation in 2015, studying how personalized learning shaped the learning of 11,000 students across 62 schools.
Sometimes it's helpful to realize that edtech is still in its very early stages when it comes to rigorously testing strategies.
Meanwhile, here is some quick reading on positive results using educational technology:
Donald Taylor, a leading L&D analyst, recently conducted a survey of L&D leaders and found that the #1 growth area in the future is not MOOCs or Video, or even mobile learning – it’s the topic of personalization. We now live in a world where each employee’s learning needs are unique to them, and while we should architect a meaningful set of programs around macro and micro-learning for them, they want to learn when they want in the most natural way possible. Today learning is about “flow” not “instruction,” and helping bring learning to people throughout their digital experience.