A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning
Chapter 8. Personalized Learning
Not all learning is formal—much of it occurs outside the classroom. I have traditional degrees and certificates from university trainings and workshops. I have also enrolled in massive open online courses and watched instructional videos on YouTube. If I take a professional development workshop on Teq’s online platform, I am awarded a badge that can be exported to the cloud, via Mozilla’s Open Badges initiative. This system of informal learning is more personalized to better suit my individualized needs. It is my personalized learning environment!
The current educational model has its roots in both the Industrial Revolution and the medieval university system. Many reformers are rethinking the model of student-earned, teacher-assigned letter grades and social promotion based on birth year. Whyville’s Jim Bower didn’t mince words. “It’s ridiculous to have 32 kids in your classroom grouped by age,” he said. “It’s the dumbest—and easiest—way to group. There’s no reason why that needs to be that way.” ClassBadges’s co-founder James Sanders concurred. “I would love to see the gradual elimination of the idea of grade levels. That we group students based on when they were born and have them progress at the same time is ridiculous,” he stated.
Newer models of personalized learning are delivered in a gamified system. Difficulty automatically adjusts, based on student ability. It is essentially ← 139 | 140 → differentiated instruction facilitated by a computer’s adaptive algorithm. The reward is frequently a micro-credential: a digital badge. In January 2014 I asked the...
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