KU Leuven: Imec and KU Leuven launch free online portal that enables tailor-made learning

“Every student deserves tailor-made education. As early as 2011, the European Commission underlined the importance of personalized learning. Our children must be prepared to find their way in this rapidly changing society. Customized learning is therefore the future,” said Ambra Neri, program manager of the i-Learn project.

The project is an initiative of the Flemish government and is carried out by imec and KU Leuven. Thanks to i-Learn MyWay, teachers no longer have to find their way through the enormous range of educational tools, but they have access to a wide range of high-quality tools bundled on one portal and via a single login. With these tools, they can then set up learning trajectories within the portal tailored to their students and easily monitor the progress of their students.

Pilot School Experiences
During the 2020-2021 school year, a pilot project took place at 12 Flemish schools. They were given the opportunity to test the prototype of MyWay for an entire school year. Their feedback was then incorporated into the development of the final portal.

“The strength of i-Learn MyWay is that students actively get to work. They go through their own learning track, at their own pace. As a teacher you can still give direction, but your students are mainly busy themselves. It is really tailored to the student”, says Freya, teacher of the pilot school Olvi-PiusX in Zele. Pedagogical director Toska agrees: “Slightly weaker students can repeat, and somewhat stronger students can delve deeper into the subject matter thanks to MyWay.”

The impact on the student cannot be underestimated. “Every student is unique and that also translates into learning. Processing the material at one’s own pace, with adapted processing tasks, is essential in this respect,” says Professor Piet Desmet, promoter of the project and Vice Rector for Educational Technology at KU Leuven. “Although a teacher can respond to specific learning needs in face-to-face education itself, technology can really make the difference in providing the teacher with the necessary support to adapt the approach and learning resources to the level and profile of the student. i-Learn makes this far-reaching personalization possible and so we can do everything we can to keep every student on board.”

Moreover, the pilot project shows that students themselves also enjoy working with MyWay. They often do not even realize that they are working on difficult material. The Flemish Schools’ Dome also sees the importance of i-Learn: “There is a future in i-Learn. The more a student has the feeling ‘I am helping to work on my own learning process, I make choices that make it easier and more fun for me’, the more students you get in the boat, who would otherwise fall by the wayside. ”

Professionalization of teachers
The i-Learn project not only provides an online portal, but also offers a free professionalization process. Through the i-Learn Academy, teachers receive the necessary training and guidance so that they can efficiently use the portal and digitally personalized learning (ie tailor-made digital learning) during their lessons. This is done on the basis of e-learning modules, training sessions and the option of requesting a coaching program tailored to your own school.

Impact of i-Learn
i-Learn contributes to the digital transformation of Flemish education and is thus complementary to the Digisprong program of the Flemish government. The target group of i-Learn are students, teachers and ICT coordinators in primary and secondary education. Besides impact on education (pupil, teacher) and the Flemish EdTech sector (developers of educational applications), the i-Learn project ensures a unique interaction between fundamental research and practice thanks to the involvement of research groups itec (an imec research group at KU Leuven) and IDLab (an imec research group at Ghent University).

Flemish Minister for Work, Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits: “With i-Learn we bring the top of educational technology to the classroom and offer teachers a platform that really makes personalized learning possible. After the Digisprong, which provides the necessary hardware, we are also making a giant leap in terms of content in more than a hundred schools.”

“Flanders is investing 385 million in a major Digisprong for our education, because this will improve the quality of education. Digital means you can work much more tailored to the student. Weaker students can receive extra support, while stronger students in the same class are challenged extra. The teacher also gains much better insight into the learning process of each individual student. New digital tools will therefore really strengthen and improve our education,” said Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts.