What is personalised Learning?
2007 looks like being the ‘Year of Personalised Learning’. The recent report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group proposed a radical restructuring of English schooling as a solution to the persistent problems of the ‘one size fits all’ model of education does not meet ‘individual needs’. Instead of traditional grades or marks in an inflexible national curriculum, pupils would be able to choose what they study, be assessed when ‘ready’ instead of by age, mark their own work through ‘feedback’, and grade their teacher’s performance. They also propose a ‘learning guide’ to help pupils make progress at their own pace instead of being teacher-led.
The report has been positively received and the few critics seem to see it as describing what good teachers do already. But what really is personalised learning and is it really the way forward for education? Is there more in the report than has been discussed in the media? Is personalisation just an empty, politically expedient phrase, or is it likely to radically change education, as is claimed? What sort of young people will a personalised learning system turn out?