One size fits one

Stephen Downes shared a paper about learning in today’s OLDaily (link).

He wrote:

The first sentence of this paper makes me want to reframe the learning styles debate. Here’s the sentence: “It has been proven that adopting the ‘one size fits one’ approach has better learning outcomes than the ‘one size fits all’ one.”

Given the interest coaches have in learning styles, I do think this is a fascinating post and a great lead into Othmane Zine, Aziz Derouich, and Abdennebi Talbi’s paper (link). Their paper appears in The International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning. I do think its location in that journal and its title (IMS Compliant Ontological Learner Model for Adaptive E-Learning Environments) does not place it at the top of coaching links to be read voraciously. However its insights are very important to conversations about coaching and pedagogy more generally.

Othmane, Aziz, and Abdennebi’s paper discusses a learner model as “a data structure used to describe, record, track, retrieve and update a learner’s characteristics which may be relevant for adaptive learning”.

They propose that “this model provides the necessary information about each learner to the environment to facilitate the learning process and the acquisition of knowledge, the learning path and interface adaption and suitable feedback and support providing”.

They note: “In order to derive learner model information, adaptive learning systems usually so- licit the user directly via forms, quizzes, and menus (static acquisition), as the communication flow between the learner and the system requires direct feedback from the learner”.

Othmane, Aziz, and Abdennebi’s of Moroccan learning contexts, particularly in distance learning is ongoing. Their detailed analysis of semantics and learner models through the use of ontologies is ongoing. Their next step will be to explore some of the psychological dimensions of their learner model that will be of further interest to coaches wherever they are in the world of sport.

Stephen concludes in his post:

If the learning styles sceptics are right, then it should be true that “one size fits all”. This paper adopts exactly the opposite posture, and indeed, so does most literature based on learner models, customization and personalisation.

Although we do not bump into The International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning everyday, I do think Stephen’s post is a great nudge to coaches to look again at some of the conversations we have about learning styles and personal performance optimisation.

Photo Credit

Souq Waqif (Laika, CC BY-ND 2.0)

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