What are Adaptive Learning Technologies?


Adaptive learning technologies refer to software and online platforms that adjust to individual students’ needs as they learn. According to a paper commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and authored by Education Growth Advisors, adaptive learning is a “sophisticated, data-driven, and in some cases, nonlinear approach to instruction and remediation, adjusting to a learner's interactions and demonstrated performance level, and subsequently anticipating what types of content and resources learners need at a specific point in time to make progress." In this sense, contemporary educational tools are now capable of learning the way people learn; enabled by machine learning technologies, they can adapt to each student’s progress and adjust content in real-time or provide customized exercises when they need it. In higher education, many faculty envision these adaptive platforms as new, patient tutors that can provide personalized instruction on a large scale. There are two levels to adaptive learning technologies — the first platform reacts to individual user data and adapts instructional material accordingly, while the second leverages aggregated data across a large sample of users for insights into the design and adaptation of curricula.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • This technology could be used to supplement/complement education from K-12. I am not advocating all of our students being strapped to computers to do all their learning. I merely think that some of the learning that we do is more linear in nature and thus could be given over to an adaptive learning environment where the student would be lead through the learning at a pace that kept them just at the boundaries of his/her knowledge/skills. - jay.priebe jay.priebe Nov 9, 2015
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think it is important to mention that teachers would need some sort of feedback from the system about students in general, their students, and specific students in some form of learning analytics dashboard. - jay.priebe jay.priebe Nov 9, 2015
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • This frees up teachers/adults in the child's life to concentrate on the other aspects of learning which are not as easy to do by computer. - jay.priebe jay.priebe Nov 9, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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