How should we think about what “personalization” is?

Is “personalization” an amorphous, rah-rah education reform term that doesn’t mean anything in particular? In this post, I argue that despite the diversity of its definitions and examples, there really is a common underlying structure to “personalization” that we can all recognize. And that is: the process. No matter what further details we differ upon, when we say something has been “personalized,” we mean it has been the result of a process which has used information from someone to variably output plans or decisions for them. A process-based understanding of educational personalization gives us a simple but powerful way of understanding what all personalizing designs have in common, as well as a powerful way to describe their differences and learn from them.