Mar 1, 2019

What Will Personalized Education Look Like in 2020?

by Digital Marketing Institute

In today’s economy, regardless of industry, offering an experience tailored to the individual is essential to ongoing success. And the educational sector is no exception.

Studies show that 77% of learning and development professionals believe that personalized learning is critical to employee engagement. Moreover, 65% of millennials state they choose their roles because of the personal and professional development opportunities on offer.

Personalized learning is a powerful tool as not only does its flexible nature allow learners to upskill and acquire fresh, relevant knowledge while juggling the demands of their professional lives, but it also offers an experience that provides a level of practical value.

In this article, we explore the virtues of personalized learning, as well as key future trends and predictions.

What are the benefits of personalized learning?

While the adoption of personalized learning within businesses and educational institutions is relatively new, it’s possible to trace the concept of moving away from the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ teaching model back to the 1980s.

A definitive study from this decade discovered, a group that received personalized tutoring outperformed a group that didn't by a staggering 98%. As a result, this study proved that the vast majority of students have the potential to learn a great deal more if the learning experience is tailored.

With a wealth of sophisticated technologies available on the market, personalized learning in the digital landscape is almost limitless. It has the potential to offer students an experience that is immersive and value-driven. In addition, it:

  • Offers targeted learning: In contrast to classroom learning, personalized education fosters targeted learning, where courses, content, material and learner journeys are presented to people based on their individual aims, goals, desires and competency levels. As a result, people will gain new skills and acquire fresh knowledge at a pace that suits them, resulting in a level of personal development that benefits the learner. Initiatives like microcredentials are a testament to the virtues of personalized lifelong- learning and development.
  • Provides customized mediums: Another clearcut benefit of personalization in education is that, not only the flexibility in terms of learning hours and location but also medium. While some people thrive in response to visual or auditory learning materials, others absorb information and find it easier to develop their skills through kinesthetic - or hands-on - materials or activities. Personalization offers students access to a variety of learning models, content and materials that will yield the most positive result according to what they respond to.
  • Boosts engagement: The bespoke nature of personalized education can help boost engagement levels, which fuels motivation and aids the development or acquisition of skills. 67% of organizations that have engaged new hires and increased productivity in less than six months used personalized online learning as their organization's primary L&D resource. In addition, offering learners tailored course materials, individual updates and support based on Learning Management System analytics make it possible to track learner progress and drive engagement.

What’s the future of personalization in education?

It's clear that personalized learning is a powerful force, but what will developments are coming down the line towards 2020?

A deeper design philosophy

In the current climate, learners benefit most from an intuitive, visually-rich educational experience. This means that in 2020, we expect that design as a philosophy, will shape future personalized offerings, content and course materials.

That said, new tools and cutting-edge approaches to designing educational experiences will deepen the capacity for personalized learning. A data-centered focus on preferences and interactions along with collaboration trials (e.g. records of where learners travel online,contribution to group activities and interaction), will forge new streams of information based on experiences and performance.

Advanced visualization tools will provide new ways of viewing data and of developing fresh insights in assist learner support - and this newfound access to information will result in platforms, tools and developments that will become an extension of the learner, with intuitive developments that are immersive, seamless to navigate and responsive.

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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The emergence of autonomous technologies offers an enormous level of opportunity within the educational sector.

The likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tie into the design-centric educational experiences of the future. They offer a means of learning but also experiencing the content through responsive functions and materials that evolve with the learner.

The implementation of ML, for instance, will add a new dimension of value to the educational experience as tools, courses or platforms will interact with the learner according to their behavior. No two learning journeys will be the same, and will instead become increasingly bespoke over time.

There are a number of autonomous educational applications such as Learning Cloud, Smart Ed and Brainly that currently exist today, and by the end of 2019, personalized learning that includes AI or ML will start to be the norm.

Personality-based personalization

Drilling down further into design-thinking and autonomous technologies in education, personality-based personalization is expected to change the face of learning.

The personality-based approach delves far deeper than metrics and consumer data alone as it uses a mix of ML and psychology to craft, curate and deliver content in a way that molds to the personality of the customer.

By using elements of psychology, this approach drills down further than demographic data or browsing behaviors alone, which, in turn, could offer the insight necessary to build an experience based on causation rather than correlation.

While still in its infancy, personality-based personalization gets results. In fact, to date, its pioneers DataSine, have delivered an 80% increase in customer engagement for Hello bank! Belgium, and a 71% rise in sales for a French bank by adopting this approach to UX and marketing.

Personality-driven personalization is yet to be fully explored in the educational sector, but this cutting-edge approach will produce a host of learning innovations that could shape the future of learning.


There’s no doubt that personalization offers exciting prospects for the education sector.

By remaining abreast of the latest developments and embracing the evolution of digital technologies, your training company, college or university stand an excellent chance of offering meaningful, valuable, result-driven educational content.

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