Thursday, January 15, 2015

Creating Personalized Learning for Everyone

Guest Post by Katherine Prince, Senior Director, Strategic Foresight, KnowledgeWorks


One of the United States’ foremost educational futurists, Katherine Prince leads KnowledgeWorks’ exploration of the future of learning.  As Senior Director of Strategic Foresight, she speaks and writes about the trends shaping education over the next decade and helps education stakeholders strategize about how to become active agents of change in pursuing their ideal visions for the future learning ecosystem. 

Since 2007, Katherine has worked with education stakeholders around the country to explore how they might transform education  to create better possibilities for all young people.   



We are honored to present Katherine Prince, her work at KnowledgeWorks and her passion about the future of learning.

For the last nine years, I’ve worked at KnowledgeWorks, a non-profit social enterprise that seeks to foster meaningful personalized learning that enables every student to thrive in college, career, and civic life.  As Senior Director, Strategic Foresight, I now lead our work on the future of learning.

My colleagues and I look ten years out to explore how trends shaping education today might impact learning.  About every three years, we publish a full forecast on the future of learning (see Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem for our latest).  We use those insights as the basis for working with education stakeholders around the country to examine strategic possibilities and to explore how each of us might act as agents of change in creating positive futures for all young people.  We also produce other publications and provocations to help people explore the implications of future trends.

In addition to helping others consider strategic possibilities, I get to dream myself.  In November, I had the chance to share my personal vision for the future of learning as part of TEDxColumbus.  My talk, “A Vision for Radically Personalized Learning,” explored the possibility of truly putting students at the center of the expanding learning ecosystem.




In my vision for radically personalized learning:
  • The learning ecosystem adapts to each child’s needs.
  • Individuals, not institutions, drive the flow of learning resources.
  • The learning ecosystem supports all students in accessing the right learning experiences and supports at the right time.
  • “School” takes many forms, with some kids attending schools that look a lot like many schools do today, some kids assembling custom mosaics of learning experiences, and everything in between.
  • Physical learning hubs provide safe places for kids to go while functioning as portals to the broader community and to learning resources beyond the community’s boundaries.
  • Every child moves at his or her own pace while engaging in interest-based collaborative learning.

Every child deserves high-quality personalized learning that adapts to his or her needs and interests.  But there’s a significant risk that the expanding learning ecosystem could fracture, leaving even more children behind than the education system does today.

Given that concern, my latest paper,Innovating toward Vibrant Learning Ecosystems: Ten Pathways for Transforming Learning,” aims to help education stakeholders move from vision to action in creating a learning ecosystem that is vibrant for all learners and not just for those with means.  It highlights education stakeholders’ tremendous opportunity to reinvent learning for a new era and to create new systemic structures that can help all learners succeed.



I want this future of learning for my three-year-old daughter, Chloe, who quite literally keeps me up at night and who causes me to obsess about how we’ll navigate today’s education landscape in light of my aspirations for the future. I also want this future of learning for all children. 

I hope that we’ll have the societal will to make radically personalized learning a reality for all young people.

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A little more about Katherine Prince:
Before joining KnowledgeWorks in 2006, Katherine supported large-scale changes in working practice at Britain’s Open University and helped federal agencies and other clients increase service quality by incorporating a customer perspective into their organizational planning. 
Katherine holds a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University; an MA in English from the University of Iowa; and an MBA from The Open University with emphases on creativity, innovation, and change and on knowledge management. She also earned a certificate in Foresight from the University of Houston. Katherine serves on the board of trustees of the Union Institute and University and is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists.
Links and resources that complement this post:

This is the first of two posts by Katherine Prince. Look for her next guest post in February on key principles from KnowledgeWorks' forthcoming paper on creating vibrant learning ecosystems. 

This post Katherine Post is cross-posted on KnowledgeWorks here: http://knowledgeworks.org/worldoflearning/personalized-learning/.