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National University to Launch Precision Institute

La Jolla-based National University, the flagship of the National University System network of nonprofit education institutions, has launched a four-year, $20 million initiative that will pilot new approaches to personalize higher education.

The new Precision Institute will lead the Precision Education initiative, a research and development effort aiming to develop a learning platform to help education institutions better serve diverse student populations, the organization said Wednesday. The effort is a collaboration between National University, other education organizations and technology firms including Gooru, Civitas Learning and Pragya Systems.

“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 David Andrews, National University president, who leads the Precision Education initiative. “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 initiative 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 aim is to integrate these approaches and potentially others into a comprehensive, personalized platform. Career support services and goal setting will be integrated throughout the platform, National University said.

Personalized learning approaches will be integrated into 20 general education courses started in fall of 2017. In addition to conducting research, the institute will host a lecture series.

National University said it is “uniquely positioned” to house the Precision Institute thanks to its history of offering innovative approaches to higher education, a result of its mission to serve adult and diverse learners since its founding in 1971.

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