Cloud-Based Learning: Personalised Learning in the Cloud

Cloud-Based Learning: Personalised Learning in the Cloud

Luc Zwartjes (Ghent University, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3053-4.ch009


The chapter initially presents styles and types of education, clarifying the differences between differentiation, individualisation and personalisation. To implement personalised learning the learning paradigm must be adopted. According to research we can distinguish different types: e-learning, i-learning, m-learning and u-learning. Many organizations have developed a virtual learning environment (VLE) as a supplement to the traditional type of education. So the existing VLE should be adjusted to a personal learning environment (PLE) that places the focus on the appropriation of different tools and resources by the learner, whereby the learner is situated within a social context which influences the way in which they use media, participate in activities and engage in communities. Finally, a checklist with criteria has been used to weigh the quality of personalised learning courses. This work was realized in the context of the “School on the Cloud” Project.
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The Story Of John, Or How Education Could Be

Ever asked yourself how different education could be? Let’s just look at the story of John. John is a 21st century learner and this is a normal school day for him.

John enters the school door, has a look if there is anything new in the intercultural area, greets his friends who are doing a small game in the playground section and checks his mobile device.

There he finds that one of his colleagues posted a question to their professor, still being unanswered. So, he decides to meet members of another group in the cantina, joining them for an orange juice. They had already advanced, so they indeed can help.

John and his colleagues continue to get data from the open data cloud, using the free open-source software to analyse and compile it, preparing a cool interactive visualization.

After two hours, the chair reports to John’s device that he is sitting for two hours. This is where Theresa comes into the learning story. She is a yoga trainer and guides the team to the relaxation room, showing them some new exercises to relax their neck muscles.

Right after they finished their exercise they hear the “bell of good ideas”. They move to the school’s amphitheatre and wait for the announcement. One of their colleagues just had the idea of using a 3D-pen to create individual models of chocolate for their Christmas party.

Then the team goes back to work. They proceed very well, achieving the “flow” state. Suddenly the system warns “15 minutes left until automatic shutdown for today”. They concentrate and finish their work, having the evening for their outdoor non-school related activities and games.

Although at first glance this seems to be a faraway dream, it can become reality. Many schools in the world are already starting with the transformation from the ‘19th century style’ education to what should be the ‘21st century education’ (Figure 1). But the transition takes long, and includes a mind shift on all levels: school (buildings), teachers and certainly the learners.

Figure 1.

School setting transformation: from 19th century to 21st century education


Key Terms in this Chapter

Personal Learning Environment (PLE): A VLE that puts the learner in the centre. The PLE concept places the focus on the appropriation of different tools and resources by the learner, whereby the learner is situated within a social context which influences the way in which they use media, participate in activities and engage in communities.

Learning Style: Different ways students processes information and thereby learn optimally; learning styles include concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation.

Personalised Learning: A type of learning that includes these principles: 1) Personalised learning starts with the learner and the learner is in the centre, 2) The learner is active in designing their learning goals and processes, 3) The learner decides how to access and acquire information, 4) The learner owns and takes responsibility of learning, thus more motivated and engaged in the learning process, 5) The learner owns the capacity for critical monitoring of learning outcomes, 6) High quality teaching responsive to the different ways students achieve their best, 7) Creating an education path that takes account of learner’s needs, interests and aspirations, 8) Making a strong contribution to equity and social justice.

E-Learning: A set of models, technologies and processes for the acquisition and use of knowledge using information and computer technologies.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): Learning environment that is provided through a course management system or software program which utilizes virtual reality technologies to facilitate learning or training. It mostly includes curriculum mapping, student tracking, online support for both teacher and student, electronic communication, and Internet links to outside curriculum resources.

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