Hedtek and Sero Consulting Ltd were recently commissioned by JISC to perform a survey and synthesis of the outputs of JISC-funded personalisation projects. The results of this work appear at personalisation.jisc.ac.uk.
A total of 25 funded projects were examined. Project outputs included analysis, user research, prototyping, service development and examination of key technical and operational issues. The projects concerned were comprised fifteen major projects and ten rapid innovation projects.
While we took Hedtek’s broad definition of personalisation as our starting point, the major areas addressed in the projects boiled down to six areas as shown in the following chart (dark and light green indicate implementation, cream indicates only consideration). To some extent this reflects what was current at the time; note how ten of these projects addressed personalisation as a “my stuff” content collection activity expressed in the rightmost bar in the chart. However, this will change; our prediction is that future funded personalisation activities will be in areas represented by the leftmost four bars in the chart; cf. the geospatial and activity data areas in this recent JISC call.
(In all charts here the y-axis represents numbers of projects.)
The beneficiaries of the projects were:
Of the projects surveyed, a significantly large number are either in production use or exist in demonstrator form:
The synthesis activity produced some key thinking that appears in the landscape section of our micro-site, and two technical recommendations:
Adopt the broad definition of personalisation: Personalisation is the supply of services and/or data based on a model of a user.
Field trial and improve personalisation mechanisms and their user interfaces as part of the regular pattern of construction and rollout of personalisation mechanisms.
Recommendation 1 broadens out the working definition of personalisation used in the JISC world, and, importantly, allows for a definition of personalisation in education that allows for self-directed education. Recommendation 2 will help ensure the applicability of personalisation work, avoiding mere flights of fantasy as to what users want and need.
Hedtek has been very active in the JISC personalisation activities, having enacted the first JISC personalisation project, Development of Personalisation for the Information Environment 1. DPIE 1 proposed an architecture for personalisation extensions to the JISC Information Environment, which we explored further in the Extensions for the Information Environment project. Hedtek then, with Sero and other partners, undertook the TILE and MOSAIC projects; concerned with the exploitation of activity data for personalisation purposes. Next Hedtek performed the MOSAIC Architectural Recommendations project. Finally, together with Sero, we performed the survey and synthesis described in this post, and also provided advice to JISC on further funding activities.
In the work described above Tom Franklin of Franklin Consulting provided assistance with some survey activities.