Instructional Design

Beyond the Campus: eLearning Supports Personalized Learning

Learning is for life if you want to stay relevant — and pay your bills. Whether it’s on-the-job learning or self-initiated learning, chances are you’ll spend the rest of your life in some kind of semi-structured learning. Job market and cultural changes demand that we keep current, and that requires a constant flow of actionable information. For self-starters, lifetime learning is the path to career freedom and the engine for innovation. Self-starting learners can switch careers, launch businesses or sprout wings as solopreneurs or consultants. Let’s see how eLearning makes this easier.

Building Blocks to Personalized Learning

Personalized learning builds on basic eLearning components and resources but blows past traditional limits. It uses a framework such as an LMS as the bones of while allowing students to go off into different directions based on their experience, their goals and their personal interest. The LMS points the student in the direction of additional resources such as blogs, RSS feeds, social media and other tools of discovery while encouraging and/or requiring participation. How and to what extent to participate is up to the student. Personalized training facilitates the transition from asynchronous learning to active learning, the preferred method of learning among motivated students of life.

Push Learning

Think of the old way of learning as push learning—learning the hard way. Students receive information, which they regurgitate on a test. Many public schools are stuck in this “teach the test” model because of the mandate to raise test scores. This type of ‘learning’ kills curiosity, sows mediocrity and discourages independent thinking and personalized learning.

Pull Learning

Think of personalized learning as pull learning—students pulling much of the course information from varied Web 2.0 sources. Students can connect dots from varied resources and draw their own conclusion rather than regurgitating spoon-fed conclusions. Think of the wildly different possibilities for two students with different specialized interests participating in an eLearning that promotes personalized learning. Just as micromanaging on the job kills innovation, micromanaging in learning kills curiosity. eLearning provides the structure to address varied needs and the framework to allow students the latitude to learn more than they would with one teacher pushing one narrative in a classroom.

Personalized learning relies on the student meeting the instructional designer halfway. It assumes a responsibility on the part of the student, but it offers opportunities far beyond those available in the traditional classroom.