Education began thousands of years ago with the private tutor and the rich. All the way back to the time of the Greeks and the Ancient Egyptians, if your family had money, then you would have a teacher. His job – and it almost always was a he – was to prepare you for life. You got undivided attention and your education was entirely personalised to your learning needs.
This level of one-on-one tutoring remained the modus operandi until the Industrial Revolution, where governments and businessmen alike realised the growing need to educate the masses to prepare them for the workforce. But how do you simultaneously educate hundreds who all have different learning needs?
You don’t. Education became a one size fits all model. People rocked up in their tens to classrooms to listen to a teacher impart knowledge. Whether this worked for you and whether you learnt anything or not became your problem, not the systems.
But that’s all about to change with the Digital Revolution. The notion of Personalised Learning is making a comeback. New technology now let’s teachers, tutors, lecturers and learners have productive one-on-one time during the learning process.
The people at Learnium see this as a great opportunity to put the individual back in the centre of learning. With the growing number of social networks and communication apps, the founders realised it was high time to pair education with the changing way students are communicating with each other.
Learnium is a social learning network. It allows students to communicate with each other and their lecturers the same way they do on other social networks. The difference? Not only is it an entirely private and secure social network where you can safely keep your personal and professional lives separated, it’s also fully integrated with Microsoft Office Online – one of only a handful of companies in the world to do so – ensuring students have the software they need for their studies.
Microsoft Education lets anyone with a university or college e-mail address access the tools they need to complete their assignments and Learnium now lets you sign up for free and use Microsoft Office Online with your account. Working on individual or group assignments, you can post questions to your group or message your teacher directly. This way you can get the answers you need to complete your assignment without waiting in a queue after a lecture. And with all your classmates online as well, if you miss a lecture, you won’t miss out. From your bed, library or café you can ask everyone what you missed from the lecture and the tutor can upload the slides for everyone to review.
But what’s next? In the future, learning will become even more personalised where intelligent data algorithms will be able to analyse a student’s needs, highlighting shortcomings and making study recommendations. Lecturers will have insights into each student’s progress, creating a learning plan tailored specifically for them. We’ll finally see the return of personalised tuition facilitated by technology which will improve student experience and, potentially, performance.
Personalised Learning doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. The Digital Revolution means we can bring a high level of individualised learning to the masses.
Robert Dragan is the CEO of Learnium, a social learning platform that enables teachers and students to connect, communicate and collaborate online. As a technology entrepreneur, he is passionate about social and mobile learning and believes that machine algorithms will be able to provide a personalised experience to every learner around the world.