Teacher helping students with tablets

Education Technology and Personalized Learning

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Finding ways for technology to support K-12 education goes far beyond outfitting students with laptops or tablets. That's actually the easy part. Education technologies have many potential applications, like helping teachers and school leaders track learning, better tailor curricula and learning experiences to students, and group learners together in more intelligent ways.

And while it has long been recognized that technology has the potential to dramatically improve the education system, efforts to do so have had limited impact. RAND's work in this area is helping to change that—by researching innovative ideas and helping to provide decisionmakers with answers to difficult questions that surround the issue:

  • How can instructional technologies and learning management systems be most effectively integrated with more traditional instructional approaches, assessments, school and teacher evaluations, and other aspects of K-12 education?
  • Are new learning technologies effective at supporting learning? And if so, what models work best for which students?
  • What are the barriers at the classroom, school and district, and community levels to implementing new technologies?
  • How can research help ensure that broad adoption of technologies does not cause or increase inequities, and instead helps to decrease them?

Greater implementation of personalized learning practices may be related to more-positive effects on achievement, but more research is needed.

Research In Action

  • Many aspects of current state standards, assessments, teacher evaluation, and graduation requirements are incompatible with some of the more innovative instructional technology ideas.
  • RAND has conducted the largest and most rigorous study to date on personalized learning, which focus systematically on the learning needs of each individual student in an environment that is designed to be supportive and flexible. Personalized learning is growing in popularity and consistently receiving attention from practitioners and policymakers.
  • RAND's work has helped to shape the research agenda of partners like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Our experts have also provided direct feedback and suggestions to schools and districts implementing instructional technology and other personalized learning practices.


More Work