Time to Adopt Adaptive Learning


Adaptive Learning is not a new concept, but it’s one that’s time has come.  With technology allowing the real-time personalisation of content, assessment and delivery, Adaptive Learning is making great waves to improve student experience and success.  The best teachers have always adapted their teaching to the requirements of their students. However, as class sizes have expanded, it’s become harder for teachers to rely on their own talents to keep everyone engaged and up to speed.

Adaptive Learning draws on the teacher’s own skills and insight, and it’s a process that can be adopted phase by phase.  Here’s how:

  1. Assess Strengths & Weaknesses
    Gaining an understanding of the starting point for any student participating in a course is key for both teachers and students. From a teacher’s perspective, it helps them give consideration to how they might need to provide additional support to students that may struggle or excel in their subject. For the student, having an insight to possible gaps in their existing knowledge provides them with clarity and confidence in the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the course, allowing them to reflect on how they might wish to adapt their learning experience to meet their personal requirements
  2. Use Assessments as Learning Opportunities
    Assessments are not just for screening, there are many examples of students using assessments and quizzes to learn not only the right and wrong answers but also the reasons why a particular response is deemed right or wrong. Carefully constructed formative assessments become learning tools rather than tests. Provide informative question-led assessment as a starting point to any new course.
  3. Consider What Additional Content You Can Provide
    You may already have additional content at the ready. Whether it’s to appeal students with different learning styles or those who struggle with a particular topic, it’s time to turn your best content into shareable material that can be made available online to those who need it.  It’s also worthwhile to review all eLearning content to check it is accessible to the widest audience.  Blackboard’s Ally solution helps improve accessibility and automatically checks posted course materials for accessibility issues and, through advanced Machine Learning algorithms, generates files in different formats to assist students who may require alternatives including Semantic HTML, Tagged PDF, Audio, ePub and Electronic Braille.
  4. Create the Right Amount of Content
    Don’t get overwhelmed by considering every avenue that your student might need to go down in order to get to grips with the topic. It’s worth taking Adaptive Learning stage by stage or you can create too much content “just in case” and much of it might never be used.  Take each course as an opportunity to trial out new content and gather feedback from your students about what was the most useful.
  5. Trust Your Own Judgement
    Adaptive Learning could never replace the insight of a professional teacher. You will need to review and improve the material you create, the accessibility of that content at each stage of the course, and the benefits.

Adaptive Learning provides teachers with the opportunity to translate their good practice from the classroom into the online environment to benefit larger numbers of students. By exploiting the use of learning technology teachers can impact on much larger numbers of students by providing them with a more personalized and supportive learning experience.