Guest Contributor: Andrew Smith Lewis, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Cerego.
Today my company, Cerego, and Cengage came together to give postsecondary psychology students a new suite of adaptive learning applications inside MindTap, a personalized teaching experience for educators. Together, we’re working to help students learn more effectively and gain a better understanding of precisely what’s in their brains—and how it got there—through a personalized learning approach.
Stepping back, it’s only appropriate that we substantiate this partnership starting with the study of psychology, as our mission and technology at Cerego are firmly rooted in the science of the mind and the mechanics of memory. Psychology has also been a passion of mine for years—knowing what you know, and what you don’t, is the mantra of the wise!—and personalized learning is an extension of that study.
I believe personalizing learning begins with contextualizing history and elevating present-day examples—drawing a line between a concept and its relevance is what makes big ideas stick. Teachers play an incredibly important role in designing contextualization and making the performance of it mesmerizing and engaging.
After that, personalization picks up with helping students self-serve, so they know what to study, how to study, when, and just how much; and that function—on an individual level—is better suited for advanced algorithms and adaptive applications, just like the ones our companies are building together, that can track individual student success.
The applications and experiences we’re building are designed to tackle a non-trivial problem: how to scale personalization. They will never be a replacement for a great teacher, but they can be a powerful supplement that guides students as they learn in a far more personalized manner.
The dawning of the personalization era in education will help alleviate many of the unknowns that currently exist in education, for both teacher and student alike. Personalized learning supports the mastery of concepts by helping students know what they know and what they don’t at any given moment; at the same time, it builds confidence by providing a mirror reflecting self-improvement as they progress, which in turn improves student outcomes. Remember Pearson’s Law: “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.”
Personalization is key to putting students in the drivers’ seat of their futures, but also to making the art of education engaging, meaningful, and a worthy pursuit. These tools are also as much for teachers as they are for students. Teachers are a finite resource—you can’t be everywhere at once, as we all know too well! Personalized learning applications free up teachers to focus their time and energy in areas where they can be most effective: creating meaningful context, engaging students, and intervening at just the right moment.
At Cerego, our purpose is fueled by the knowledge that both of our companies believe in a future where education is personalized. Every student learns at their own pace and it’s my sincere hope that collaborations like this one help will help each and every student learn to the best of their ability.
The Mastery Training MindApp, powered by Cerego, will be integrated into MindTap for use beginning in 2015. We’d love for you to check it out, give us your feedback, and help us shape and improve the future of personalized learning.
Andrew Smith Lewis is co-founder and executive chairman of Cerego, a leading provider of adaptive learning solutions for publishers, educators, and students. Follow him @aslives.