Questioning the 'Personalized Instruction' Buzzword

Learning Research

Questioning the 'Personalized Instruction' Buzzword

Nov 25, 2014

WHAT DO YOU MEAN? "'Personalized Instruction' is too broad and vague an umbrella term to allow for meaning evaluation or to guide policy," writes UCLA professor Noel Enyedy in a brief for the National Education Policy Center (PDF). "There is so much variability in features and models for implementation that it is impossible to make reasonable claims about the efficacy of Personalized Instruction as a whole," he continues.

The author offers a bit of a dour assessment of technology, citing "lackluster outcomes" based on his review of existing studies. But he recommends more partnerships between developers, researchers and teachers to find out what works--and what doesn't. ("We cannot trust market forces alone to sort out which systems are effective," he writes."

The paper offers a tried but true refrain to any edtech developer and decision-makers: stop using catch-all buzzwords, and be specific about the context and environment in which the tool is designed to operate and, perhaps, succeed.

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