Precision Institute at National University Launched to Transform Higher Education Through Personalized Learning

The private, nonprofit National University is supporting a four-year, $20-million Precision Education R&D effort to develop a learning platform integrating advanced technologies to help higher education institutions adapt to the individual needs of diverse student populations

San Diego, Calif. – Aiming to address some of the most challenging issues confronting higher education today, National University, which serves more than 28,000 primarily-adult learners on campuses and online, is launching today the Precision Institute at National University. The Institute will lead a four-year, $20 million initiative, called Precision Education, that is piloting new approaches to personalize higher education through advanced technologies that adapt to individual student needs and interests with the intent of better serving a diverse student population to college completion. To achieve this goal, the Institute will advance current and future partnerships in coordination with faculty; leading global experts; educational organizations; and education technology partners such as Gooru, Civitas Learning, and Pragya Systems.

The Precision Institute at National University builds on efforts already underway through the Precision Education initiative to identify technology-powered learning approaches that can be leveraged to increase and accelerate student academic success and career development. The Institute will lead research and testing in advanced technologies, open education resources, and predictive analytics with the aim of developing a unique inter-connected and dynamic learning platform. The comprehensive Precision Education initiative has been shaped by National University President Dr. David W. Andrews, with the support of the board of trustees; faculty involved in initiative projects; and the National University System, which is a network of university and education-related affiliates, anchored by National University, dedicated to exceptional student experience to lifelong learners.

“We are entering a new era of opportunity and innovation in higher education with the development of advanced technologies and data analytics tools that can better aid us in creating adaptive learning platforms on a very precise and individual level,” said National University President Dr. David Andrews. “The Precision Institute at National University will contribute to ongoing research in this field as we foster a culture of collaboration with other institutions and organizations that share our mission to better adapt to the unique needs of diverse student learners so that they can more effectively reach their academic and career goals.”

The approaches being explored by the private, nonprofit National University and its Institute are commonly referred to as personalized education or personalized learning, terms that refer to educational approaches that adapt to students’ needs. The Precision Education initiative at National University, led through the Institute, is exploring eight areas related to personalized learning: first-course screening assessments; competency-based learning; adaptive machine learning instruction; micro-badging; online student goal setting;  advisor and adjunct matching; student navigation dashboards and data integrity. The intent is to integrate these approaches, and possibly others, into a uniquely-comprehensive and streamlined personalized education platform. Another distinct feature is the integration of career support services and goal setting throughout the platform.

The next phase of research and development includes integrating Precision Education approaches into 20 general education courses. This process will start in Fall 2017 and proceed through Spring 2018. In addition to research, the Precision Institute at National University, will also support faculty and visiting fellowships, and will host a regular lecture series featuring prominent researchers and experts who are offering innovative approaches toward higher education and learning. The first lecturer, who is speaking at the formal July 19 event to mark the launch of the Precision Institute at National University, is Luciano Floridi, a professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford.

National University is uniquely positioned to house the Precision Institute since it builds on a tradition of offering innovative approaches to higher education, having been created more than 45 years ago to serve the needs of adult and diverse learners through personalized approaches such as evening classes, convenient campus locations, a “one class per month format” and as one of the early pioneers of online education. The Precision Education initiative and Institute also align with the goals of the National University System to emphasize approaches that encourage a “High Tech, High Touch and High Choice” approach to delivering an exceptional student experience through market-relevant programs, superior services, and meaningful learning.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is among the largest, private, nonprofit universities in California. With more than 230,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Four schools and two colleges – the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 75 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.

About the National University System
The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students that includes National University, John F. Kennedy University, City University of Seattle, and the Division of Pre-College Programs. Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century, the network’s complementary universities offer pathways for students to attain professional and terminal degrees through quality and innovative programs delivered in a format that is flexible to the needs of adult learners. The anchor institution, National University, was founded in in 1971 and is among the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California with more than 230,000 alumni.

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