Education buzzwords come and go, just as the fads they sometimes represent.
But some endure and come back, much as in the Gartner Hype Cycle—or perhaps as in a metaphorical Ferris wheel, in which concepts take their seats and then rise and fall, over and over.
For a variety of reasons, the buzz phrases also come to take on new meanings that were never intended originally, which makes it hard for educators, entrepreneurs and researchers to communicate clearly and hone in on what exactly they are trying to do and why. This is problematic. As Clayton Christensen recently said to me, just as people have taken the phrase “disruptive innovation” to justify whatever they already wanted to do, people are using the phrase personalized learning—and a whole host of other terms—in a similar manner.
Today’s most hyped phrase, personalized learning, is nearing Gartner’s peak of inflated expectations among the chattering class of education thought leaders and philanthropists.
What is personalized learning?