Personalized learning seeks to accelerate the student learning process by tailoring the instructional environment to address the needs and skills of individual learners. Through personalized learning, students are being met where they are, in terms of learning strategies, mastery levels, interests and more, in order to support individual learners to meet their academic goals. There are many approaches to the personalization of learning, and technology has emerged as a powerful enabler for postsecondary institutions committed to delivering student-centered instructional models and improving retention and graduation rates at scale.
Within higher education today, students and faculty produce enormous quantities of learning-related data. Increasingly this data is being harnessed to improve student success in individual courses and across degree programs. New and established commercial technology providers are expanding their offerings to support learner profiling, personalized learning paths, early warning systems and targeted interventions to keep students on track in the classroom and across their postsecondary experience.
The Personalized Learning Consortium at APLU was founded in 2013 to serve as a multi-collaboratory of public universities to exchange information about personalized learning technologies that will improve student success. As members and through funded projects, the PLC seeks to leverage the benefits of scale by understanding the new technologies and process changes needed at the institutional level. Today, the PLC offers its members resources and opportunities to improve the understanding, implementation and scaling of technologies designed to personalize and improve the education experience. PLC membership positions universities to better capture the enormous economies of scale inherent in technology and improve learning for students while containing costs.
The consortium emerged from an APLU project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and it currently operates under the aegis of APLU as a separate dues-funded activity. The consortium carries out important functions for members from a national office in Washington D.C., including: market analyses and tracking; sharing reviews and vendor assessments; organizing product licensing; piloting new adaptive learning technologies, and sharing of learning data.
There are two categories of membership in the PLC. The first category is ”Sustaining” membership at a fee of $25,000 per year and the second is "Basic” membership at a fee of $5,000 to $15,000 per year, depending on student FTE size and research volume. Sustaining members are active participants in PLC governance and determining the agenda of the PLC. Both Sustaining and Basic members have access to all PLC initiatives along with opportunities for cooperation, exchanges, and group negotiation.
If your institution is interested in participating in the Consortium, please have your chief academic officer contact Karen Vignare, Executive Director of the Personalized Learning Consortium, to register institutional interest.
Information about the PLC’s guiding principles and how it makes strategic decisions is available for download here.