Learning Personalisation: Technics, Disorientation and Governance

Also, I plan to write this as a chapter if the book gets up.

Digital technologies are central to how schooling is being reimagined. 21st century learning (not unproblematic, I’d add), skills, and thinking signify the ways that the promise of these technologies is being conceptualised. One of the more striking fields of endeavour is that of assessment. Digital providers are investing heavily in data solutions that aim to revolutionise how schools undertake assessment through digital personalisation. A particularly potent example of this is learning analytics and Big Data, built as it is on a logistics of engagement where “educational resources and learning environments are continually modified with the goal that learners remain invested” as the “learning content, environment and tasks are continually updated and responsive to the profiles/patterns of the learner” (Thompson & Cook, 2016, p. 6). Examples include data dashboards that may integrate various surveillance and tracking technologies, digital learning management systems, interactive learning environments, adaptive curriculum, computer adaptive testing, administrative data and various log data. As schools produce, collect and digitise more data, the solutions proffered and they ways that they contribute to new forms of governance require critical consideration.

Using the work of Bernard Stiegler, and particularly his conceptual work around the industrialisation of technics (or tertiary memory (Stiegler, 1998)), this chapter will explore the passion for learning personalisation through digital tools as an example of “disorientation” (Stiegler, 1998). Learning personalisation will have significant impact on the day-to-day operations of the classroom, and the subjectivities of teachers and learners. These new forms of assessment represent challenges for teaching and learning as they ‘displace’ the topos of pedagogy from the classroom and its embodied interactions to become an effect of the data-analysand.

Works Cited

Stiegler, B. (1998). Technics and time: Disorientation (Vol. 2). Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Stiegler, B. (1998). Technics and time: The fault of epimetheus (Vol. 1). Stanford University Press.

Thompson, G., & Cook, I. (2016). The logic of data-sense: thinking through Learning Personalisation. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education , 1-15.