Dr. Sridhar graduated from IIT Kharagpur in 1989 with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering. He went on to complete his PhD in Fluid Mechanics from the Johns Hopkins University, USA. A strong desire to do something for the country prompted him to return to India in 1998 after a 3-year stint as a Research Scientist at American Standard. In 1998, jointly founded by Dr Sridhar and Mrs Lalit Sridhar, Academic Centre for Excellence (ACE) came into existence with a vision to provide an effective and caring academic environment that nurtures original thinking and creates confident young individuals with a sense of responsibility towards society. Together, they pioneered board and competitive teaching in Karnataka through Deeksha.
Personalized Learning is a mode of teaching that is slowly gaining prominence in the field of education. What we traditionally understand as a “one size fits all approach” to education, is losing favour among students and educationists alike, and there is now a growing interest in personalized teaching models that are found to be far more effective. A key characteristic of this type of an educational program is the understanding that each student experiences and responds to learning differently. Personalized learning places a premium on student feedback and a dynamic mentorship to ensure a wholesome student-teacher relationship.
What exactly is personalized learning?
Picture a typical classroom of 40 students; 10 of them are fast learners, 15 of them are relatively slow-paced, and the rest 15 learn fast or slow depending on how the content appeals to their imagination. Now, in this setting, a uniform pedagogical approach of instruction will either leave the faster ones bored, the slower ones overwhelmed, or the imaginative ones uninspired. Is there an answer to this problem?
Now imagine a situation where the content and learning process can be customized for each child! A fast learner can be given more challenging material while other children can be given more practice content on the same topic to build confidence. Will not such a learning environment ensure each child is deeply engaged with the course work? This engaged and effective learning experience is the objective of the personalized learning paradigm.
Advantages of a personalized learning:
A personalized learning approach allows students to explore their interests faster while enabling instructors to concentrate on providing guidance, support and long-term planning of the teaching curriculum. Some of the other major advantages are as below:
- No child is left behind
In a conventional classroom, a teacher must deliver lessons at a particular speed due to which slow learners may feel left. Customized learning allows students to go through their courses at an optimum place, letting them learn and understand content in a manner that suits their learning style. The teacher’s focus is no longer only on completing the syllabus, but also actively ensuring that students have completely understood it.
- Develops self-learners
The process of personalized learning necessarily requires children to acknowledge their learning gaps and select an appropriate remediation path. In this journey, children take ownership for their learning and in the process become self-learners.
- Creates an engaged class room
One of the larger problems present day educators and teachers face is an ever increasing disengaged lot of children in the class room. One of the main reasons for the disengagement is the gap between the learning content and the child’s background and interest. A personalized learning program bridges this gap and provides content in different formats that keeps the child engaged.
Building a personalized training program
It all starts with testing. To know where to go, you must first understand where you are! Well-designed continuous assessments are critical to gauge a student’s current skills and abilities.
Data analytics and AI
Data analytics helps determine knowledge gaps and identify the learning structure and content required to close that gap. AI can also help personalize the form of the remediation content to be presented based on the individual learning styles of each student.
Formalize and customize the learning plan
The next step is to map out the learning plan that will help a student get from A to B. With time, as more specific strategies are developed and student feedback is incorporated, the learning programs are customized for students based on their interests. The best learning programs ensure that students are engaged, continuously acquiring skills and learning based on their current knowledge levels, learning preferences and other variables.
Execute the plan and Track learning through consistent evaluations
Regular evaluations are essential to verify that the learning route is successful. These one-on-ones and self-assessments should provide data that can be evaluated for better understanding the learner’s path.
Personalized teaching-learning systems which leverage technology and innovative instructional designs will continue to rapidly evolve. Collaborative experiments with a data-driven emphasis on learning preferences will result in platforms, tools and innovations that are immersive, smooth to navigate and responsive which seamlessly become an extension of the learner. That is the future of education!