I was intrigued with this week’s subject because I had not previously researched personalized learning in-depth. I believe that there are many advantages and disadvantages to this learning strategy. The major advantage is quite obvious: students are able to work at their own pace. However, this is also a major disadvantage. There is no real system of accountability in place for personalized learning. This means that students may not progress through as much material as they would with traditional learning. In addition to this, not all personalized learning programs adhere to a set curriculum. When these programs do adhere to a certain curriculum, I think that they could be a great asset to schools. Unfortunately, some programs aim to allow students to design their own curriculum. I do not agree with this strategy because, again, I feel that it lacks accountability. Also, I believe that there are certain subjects and skills which all students should be exposed to. If students are not working with a set curriculum, then there is no guarantee that they will “choose’ to learn about important subjects and skills.
In the article “So-called Personalized Learning Doesn’t Add Up’, Paul Katula raises another interesting disadvantage of personalized learning. According to Katula, personalized learning is not necessarily “personalized’. Because personalized learning programs can be setup so that they track students’ internet history in order to determine their interests and cater their learning to those interests, these programs attempt to characterize students based solely on their internet behaviors rather than their offline behaviors. Katula argues that the issue with this is that many people, like himself, participate in online activities which do not necessarily match their interests. For example, Katula follows political figures from different sides of the political spectrum so that he can be more informed on all viewpoints. Despite this, he has his own strong political views and would not necessarily be interested in a personalized learning program which constantly brings up ideas and people across the political spectrum. Because of this, Katula says that traditional learning can be more personalized than can personalized learning. The reason for this is that teachers interact with their students daily and are able to learn things about their actual, ever-changing personalities which a computer may not pickup on.
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