Theories of learning – the ultimate in personalisation

News reached me today of an interesting new model of learning design from the Applied Pedagogic Research Institute of Learning – an international consortium of researchers and practitioners from Finland, Oman, Okayama and Luxembourg – which promises to ‘promote individual attainment through authentic learning practice via user-driven acquisition of learning goals.’

This new model builds on existing models such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, exploring esteem and self-actualisation as driving components, autodidacticism which promotes the self-teacher and Knowle’s self-directed learning which “assumes that the human being grows in capacity (and need) to be self-directed as an essential component of maturing.”

This new model is described as self-centred learning and promotes ‘selfish’ course design, where traditional curriculum design models need to adapt to meet the individual learner’s needs — ever more pertinent in a £9K fee paying landscape. Researchers argue that encouraging self-centredness in the learner responds to their more fundamental needs and desires, embedding ownership and motivation and delivering an active programme of learner-centric pedagogic practice through exclusive self focus. “Life is competitive and therefore learning should reflect and embrace competition by encouraging a self-centred approach to achieving personal goals,” argues Professor Valehdella. “This prepares learners for the cut-and-thrust of the modern world.”

Self-centred learning is facilitated through this simple six-step model below:

self-centred learning

The benefits for the learner are described as:
• Delivers personalised learning experiences for the self-centred learner
• Suits the individual learning style, without time being wasted by the preferences of others
• Encourages ownership over learning, course design and pace, reducing the need for any teacher input
• Goal driven, promoting competition within this Olympic year
• Success promotes self-esteem through cohort failures

To paraphrase Gore Vidal, it is not enough that the self-centred learner achieves their own goals, others must not reach theirs.

At this point it is still unclear whether this model will gain widespread acceptance but the researchers for the Applied Pedagogic Research Institute of Learning promise to provide real examples later this year via a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC). The aims and goals will be learner defined, building on the model above. This looks to be an interesting experiment.
Watch this space…

Thanks to AB who drew my attention to all this…