Regotiating Cognitive Biases: Personalized Learning at the Margins in a Neoliberal Educational Context

Potential Abstract:
Abstract: This research study examines the implementation of personalized learning strategies in marginalized educational settings and explores the role of cognitive biases within a neoliberal framework. Drawing upon the growing interest in tailoring educational experiences to individual learners, this study investigates how personalized learning approaches may perpetuate or challenge existing educational inequities. Specifically, it focuses on the role of cognitive biases in shaping the design and implementation of personalized learning interventions and their impact on marginalized learners.

Through a qualitative case study approach, the research unpacks the ways in which cognitive biases—such as confirmation bias, availability heuristic, and stereotype threat—may influence personalized learning practices at the margins. The study considers the perspectives and experiences of various stakeholders, including students, teachers, administrators, and policymakers, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of personalized learning in marginalized contexts.

The findings highlight the nuanced ways in which cognitive biases can influence the design and implementation of personalized learning initiatives. For instance, confirmation bias may lead educators to disproportionately focus on reinforcing existing knowledge instead of fostering critical thinking skills among marginalized students. Similarly, the availability heuristic may result in limited access to diverse learning resources and opportunities, exacerbating existing educational disparities. Moreover, the presence of stereotype threat may impact how learners from marginalized backgrounds perceive their own abilities and hinder their engagement with personalized learning interventions.

This research study aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on personalized learning by shedding light on the potential risks and benefits for marginalized learners. By examining the influence of cognitive biases within a neoliberal educational context, it seeks to inform the development of more inclusive and equitable personalized learning strategies. The study findings raise important questions about the role of educational policies, teacher training, and pedagogical practices in mitigating the negative effects of cognitive biases and promoting personalized learning for all learners.

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