Friday, February 22, 2008

Personalized Learning

The National Academy of Engineering has identified the "grand engineering challenges" that face society and suggested some of the work that needs to be done to address these issues.

One of the areas they identify is personalized learning. The problem is described as follows:

Throughout the educational system, teaching has traditionally followed a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, with a single set of instructions provided identically to everybody in a given class, regardless of differences in aptitude or interest. Similar inflexibility has persisted in adult education programs that ignore differences in age, cultural background, occupation, and level of motivation.
They suggest that what we need are personalized learning systems that are more closely tailored to the needs and interests of the learner and suggest that "web-based expert systems could be designed to address this need. This has long been a dream of computer-based instruction, but the record on our ability to create these systems is dismal. This indeed makes this a "grand challenge" and one that continues to need our attention.

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