Digital Personalised Learning (DPL)

Digital Personalized Learning (DPL)

What is DPL? Technology to support personalised learning and teaching at the level of the student.

The challenge facing the education sector: Teaching is often not targeted at the level of the student. Classes have wide-ranging learning levels. Many students do not learn effectively, becoming disengaged.

And so we ask: How can technology be used to maximise the effectiveness of personalised learning and teaching at the level of the student?

Our goal

Influence how money is spent on personalised learning

Significant financial resources are being invested in a wide range of digital personalised learning programmes, but there is no clear evidence on whether they are more effective as a complement or substitute to other learning content, and how they might be used in low- and middle-income countries. Clear evidence on pedagogically appropriate, cost-effective digital personalised learning will guide investment in these programmes to have increased impact on learning outcomes.

Latest evidence

Reports

This Rapid Evidence Review (RER) provides an overview of existing research on the use of technology to support personalised learning in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The RER has been produced in response to the widespread global shutdown of schools resulting from the outbreak of Covid-19. It therefore emphasises transferable insights that may be applicable to educational responses resulting from the limitations caused by Covid-19. In the current context, lessons learnt from the use of technology-supported personalised learning — in which technology enables or supports learning based upon particular characteristics of relevance or importance to learners — are particularly salient given this has the potential to adapt to learners’ needs by ‘teaching at the right level’.

This RER provides a summary of the potential benefits of technology-supported personalised learning as well as identifying possible limitations and challenges. It intends to inform educational decision makers, including donors and those in
government and NGOs, about the potential to use technology-supported personalised learning as a response to the current pandemic. The findings and recommendations are also anticipated to be of interest to other education stakeholders (e.g. researchers and school leaders).

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This brief summarises a position paper (⇡Hennessy, et al., 2021) that situates the evidence-building work of EdTech Hub in relation to global challenges in education.

There is growing evidence that appropriate and effective uses of EdTech have the potential to lead to improved learning outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (⇡Haßler, et al., 2020; ⇡McEwan, 2015), but sustainable and positive change at scale has largely proved elusive in practice. Much more needs to be done.

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Blogs

With schools around the world closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we have been undertaking a series of ‘rapid evidence reviews’ to help education decision-makers respond effectively. These reviews aim to provide evidence-based summaries on specific areas of EdTech. In this post, we look at the role of technology in supporting personalised learning.

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Sandboxes

Technology to support personalized learning holds huge potential to address the global learning crisis. However, there is still much to learn about the most effective use and scalability of personalised learning in lower and middle-income countries. onebillion – an EdTech non-profit organisation – and their onetab solution are working to contribute evidence and learning to this discussion. 

onebillion provides educational hardware (onetab, a low-cost tablet device) and software (onecourse) designed to deliver literacy and numeracy instruction to children in their own language, at their own level. In Malawi, onebillion works with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and VSO Malawi to provide over 150,000 children regular access to onecourse through the public school system under the Unlocking Talent Initiative, and recently, introduced onetab to 650 families to support children’s learning at home in response to COVID-19 school closures. 

With increasing interest from the government and other partners to expand access to onetab in Malawi, onebillion partnered with the EdTech Hub to run a 3-month sandbox focused on exploring the opportunities and barriers associated with scaling – the findings of which would inform a proposal to the Malawi government about how to take onetab to national scale. Sandboxes provide partners with tools, support, and access to evidence to scale promising EdTech interventions. This blog highlights key takeaways from the process and offers suggestions for other EdTech implementers going forward. 

Partner: Onebillion

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The EdTech Hub is a global non-profit research partnership
Our goal is to empower the people making decisions about technology in education.

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