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4 Ways Adaptive Learning Technology Can Improve Education
All too often, what happens in a classroom falls short of what we know would be possible if money and resource were no object. In a perfect world, students would work at their own pace, have their own curriculum finely tuned to their own needs, have one-on-one attention throughout and would get detailed and instantaneous feedback on everything they do. The reality though, is that we have usually over 30 students in our classrooms. Personalising the curriculum to this degree is just not practical or indeed possible.
Adaptive Learning is a technology designed to tailor learning materials to a student, to look at how he or she performs on them and to choose the next activity that they do based on that performance. As such, it offers the possibility of getting us somewhat closer to the ideal. Here are 4 ways Adaptive Learning can improve education:
Adaptive Learning Systems are available 24/7 and provide instantaneous feedback on everything the student does. In the best systems the feedback itself is adaptive, looking to see what the student responds well to and adjusting accordingly. Other systems will blend adaptive learning with gaming so that students are given feedback based on the score they achieve in a game.
Adaptive Learning is personalised all day, everyday. The machine looks at how the student performs in each activity and carefully chooses which one the student is to do next. In the best systems this means that there is an infinite number of ways through the available materials with learning pathways adapting to the needs of each and every student.
The best Adaptive Learning systems deliver a spread of activities that covers the range of learning styles and moreover, tailor the learning pathways that the system generates to the particular learning styles that each student responds to.
In the ideal classroom, all students are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and engaged with their own learning. With Adaptive Learning, the machine doesn’t label the student; it doesn’t judge or mock, it simply chooses the best route through the materials based on their capability. In this sense, the technology has great scope for helping less confident students discover (or re-discover) a love for learning that the practicalities of whole class teaching might otherwise have lost.
Let us know your experiences and views on Adaptive Learning :)
Karim Derrick, Sherston Software's chief techy, was previously a secondary mathematics teachers and maintains an interest in all things tech, philosophy and education. He is currently working on Planet Sherston, an online system that combines gaming and adaptive learning to help students have fun whilst working through their own tailored curriculum