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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Describing the Elephant: Personalizing the Student Experience

Thomas Cavanagh (University of Central Florida, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 9:15am
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 8
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 5

As the higher education student body becomes more diverse, personalizing each individual learner's experience is not just important but an imperative for institutional success.

Extended Abstract

As the higher education student body becomes more diverse (age, ethnicity, life circumstances, etc.), customizing the experience for each individual learner will be not just important but an imperative for institutional success. This imperative can be described as the "Personalization" of the educational experience for each student. The maturation of online learning is enabling a growing number of technology-based activities to accomplish this goal of personalization, such as adaptive learning, competency-based education, and learning analytics. There are a variety of ways to personalize the higher educational experience for a student. This session will describe a multi-dimensional framework for considering personalization and how each institution might embrace one or more strategies to better meet individual student needs. First, there is institutional personalization, in which a college or university creates new lines of business or services to disaggregate experiences and serve different students in unique ways. Second, there is programmatic personalization, where modality and location choices enable student agency to personalize their own pathways through their educational careers. Third, there is platform personalization, where new open standards and integrations are allowing students to personalize their technology-enhanced learning environments. Finally, there is individual personalization, where systems or strategies such as adaptive learning, competency-based education, and learning analytics are personalizing the education experience on a very granular individualized basis. Technology is now allowing higher education providers the ability to scale truly effective, personalized learning in a way that has never been done before. This session will describe each of these types, provide examples of each, and discuss how schools can adopt one or more strategies to improve the student experience in their own institutional contexts.

Lead Presenter

Thomas B. Cavanagh has directed e-learning development for both academic and industrial audiences for fifteen years. A frequent presenter at academic and industry conferences, he is an accomplished instructional designer, program manager, faculty member, and administrator. Currently, he is the Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida. He is also a published author of several mystery novels.