Has Personalized Learning Become a Game?
For over a decade, personalized learning programs and other online forms of learning have been touted as game-changing tools to close the achievement gap. But is the hype really warranted?
“While the math performance gap was not as drastic in these programs as in most schools with high poverty rates, overall it did decrease,” says Jeanne Ferris, Ph.D., Vice President of Research for Circle, an education technology company with online learning programs.
Ferris and others offer this insight at a Place for Learning Information Workshop held on August 28th, 2015 in Boston, MA. They ran the workshop with Racheal R. Dowling, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Education at Harvard University. The participants included educators from more than 30 schools.
“Most of these one-to-one learning programs have major barriers that limit their potential to deliver at scale,” says Ferris. “They are not designed to be operationalized within a school, and should be evaluated for effectiveness as part of a networked system.”
Many nonprofit organizations that offer these programs, she says, run them as content providers; they distribute data through surveys or online questionnaires to improve their evaluation outcomes. But these challenges mean the results for the individual programs, the schools they serve, and the public as a whole are not as meaningful as those of other online educational services.