Personalised learning and its kindred spirits

Personalised learning isn't a concept that stands alone in educational history or contemporary approaches. I've already mentioned its basic affinity with Rousseau's Emile but that is more a piece of trivia than anything else.

There are a few more substantial analogs that can be made:

  • Problem-based learning
  • Portfolio-based assessment
  • Distance learning
  • e-Learning/m-Learning
  • Self-directed learning/Learner-centered instruction
  • Montessori schools (and similar alternatives)

None of these overlap exactly with the notion of personalised learning and are not often mentioned in the same context but they should certainly not be forgotten. Particularly distance learning and elearning are often unwittingly equated with personalised learning because they indeed provide significant potential for shallow personalisation but they can be quite teacher-directed outside decisions regarding time and space. Problem-based learning and portfolio assessment on the other hand inherently encourage deep personalisation although they can easily become subverted by the ease with which centralised, one-size-fits-all learning can be deployed institutionally.