Download article | By Sanna Järvelä | Published in Personalising Education, OECD/CERI, 2006
Sanna Järvelä, from Finland, reviews research evidence and clarifies key questions about personalisation. She sets personalisation apart from individualisation, on the one hand, and from social learning, on the other, and instead sees it as an approach in educational policy and practice in which every student matters and as a route to equalising opportunities through developing learning skills and motivation. She examines seven critical dimensions:
• The development of key skills which are often specific to a certain work field. Knowledge construction and knowledge sharing form the core processes of learning; and these are connected to the development of higher-order knowledge and skills which are the key organisers for the construction and sharing processes.
• Making opportunities equal for students through the direct improvement of students’ learning skills. This means teaching students how to analyse, critique, judge, compare and evaluate, and it may be extended to help students think wisely.
• Encouragement of learning through building motivation. Motivationally effective teachers make school meaningful by helping students to learn, understand, and appreciate its value, especially in potential applications for the knowledge outside school.
• Collaborative knowledge-building. New learning environments in education and the workplace are often based on shared expertise. Teaching models, tools and practices are being developed to support collaborative learning and reciprocal understanding. She reviews three elements: progressive enquiry, problem-based learning, and project-based learning.
• New models of assessment. Personalised learning depends on new models of assessment, such as authentic assessment, direct assessment of performance and digital portfolios.
• Use of technology as a personal cognitive and social tool. For the personalisation agenda to succeed, she says, models are needed for the effective use of technology to support individual and social learning. It will call for multi-disciplinary collaboration between educational designers and technology developers and the use of mobile devices and wireless networks.
• Teachers are key. New learning environments require complex instructional designs and teachers will need to be strong in communication and collaboration. It is through them that the above areas will be promoted, including those of learning skills and new forms of testing.