Is Mass Customized Learning the Wave of the Future?Apr 15th, 2012 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Mass Customized Learning
Enter the picture: a new wave of learning where each student has his or her own customized plan that excites them and has them looking forward to returning to school each day. If you haven’t heard of the concept of Mass Customized Learning (MCL) you can imagine it as simply this: instruction is tailored to each student’s individual needs and motivating interests – at their particular learning level. The use of technology helps make this mass customization possible through personalized digital learning.
According to Beatrice AcGarvey and Charles Schwahn, co-authors of the book Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning, MCL means for a student that:
“Every day when I go to school, I am met at my individual and personal learning level, I am able to learn in my most powerful learning modes, I am motivated to want to learn with content that is of interest to me, I feel a sense of challenge, I am successful, and I look forward to returning to school tomorrow.”
Sound familiar to you? Homeschoolers may be getting the benefits of MCL already – through the customized learning resources and curriculums already available at their virtual fingertips. Students are engaged in learning when they are met at their individual learning level, when they are allowed to learn through one of their favored modes, and when they are allowed more access to content that is of most interest to them. A tailored homeschool curriculum is all about the customized learning process – just without the mass!
But even parents who homeschool need to face the fact that our own children are growing up in quite a different world then we did. They have been immersed in a digital age from infancy, and they think and learn differently as a result. Our own teaching styles may need to reflect this. According to Schwahn and McGarvey, we should consider this about our children:
- They have learned to manipulate technology early and have never been afraid of it
- They are controlling markets and their cultural environment … the world is listening to their desires and giving them what they want
- They expect immediate digital interaction; they no longer accept one-way broadcasts
- They not only consume information but also create information, and in the future they will transform organizations, politics and inevitably education
- They are empowered outside of school through their digital know-how
Are we – both parents and teachers – ready to embrace all forms of technology and utilize them to help our children learn faster, better, and in a style that they find both personally pleasing and motivational? Yes!
The benefits of customized learning – and the vast resources available through homeschool curriculums and online learning opportunities – are as follows:
- Each student can learn anything they choose at any location from world-class experts using the most transformational technologies and resources available to enhance their personal interests and life fulfillment
- Each student has his/her personal learning needs met every hour of every day
- The opportunity to learn at an individual’s optimum rate of speed—to advance as far as time and motivation allow
- The elimination of fear of failure and boredom when students have more input in determining what and how they learn
- Learning opportunities in a number of formats that focus on interaction, involvement, and relevance
- Technology-based learning that closely matches the natural learning activities available in gaming activities and social networks
So will Mass Customized Learning become the wave of the future – and permeate the traditional school system? Our motivated homeschooling families are figuring out the amazing MCL formula already … so let’s hope so for a better future for all children through customized learning plans.