Education Technology and Personalized Learning

Focused students using computer in dark classroom, photo by Caiaimage/Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Photo by Caiaimage/Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Technology has the potential to enhance teaching and learning in a variety of ways, such as by providing innovative instructional materials and assessments, as well as tools to help enable educators to provide more personalized learning for their students. Over the past few decades, thousands of education technology products have been developed, yet relatively few have been demonstrated to meaningfully improve student outcomes. RAND’s research program on education technology and personalized learning seeks to identify the most promising tools and approaches, deploy them in schools to measure their effects and gain rich implementation details, and then to use those findings to guide policies, implementation strategies, and future product development—all toward maximizing technology’s benefits for students.

What We Do

  • RAND researchers form multi-disciplinary teams to field rigorous studies that provide usable information to educators, policy makers, and product developers.
  • Through these studies RAND researchers employ a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how education technologies are used and what works, for whom, and under what conditions.
  • Our studies span all phases of product development, ranging from early-stage development and piloting to later-stage efficacy and effectiveness studies that involve randomized controlled trials.

Where We Focus

Primary and Secondary Education Technology

Elementary school children using a tablet in class, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

Photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

RAND has conducted program evaluations and investigated policy implications of education technologies in settings ranging from early childhood through high school.

Policy Guidance

Kindergarten students and teacher using digital tablets, photo by Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Photo by Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

RAND also has authored reports about the future directions of education technology and included policy recommendations.

Personalized Learning

Teacher and girl using computer in elementary school, photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

Personalized learning refers to a broad set of strategies intended to make each student’s educational experience responsive to his or her talents, interests, and needs. RAND’s study of personalized learning for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation produced a series of publications from 2014 though 2017 that represent the largest and most rigorous body of work of personalized learning to date. Several related projects are underway.

Postsecondary Education Technology

Mixed race businesswoman taking online class on computer, photo by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Photo by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

RAND has evaluated and provided technical assistance for many of the technologies colleges use to support student success, including: assessment tools; early alert systems; instructional software used for test preparation and tutoring; technology for facilitating professional development networks, and career advising software.