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?

  • The possibility to adapt learning to every student's individual needs might revolutionize how we teach in school! This will help student at all Levels and give the teacher a better understanding of where to put in his/her efforts. Having instant feedback can help motivate stundents that otherwise would be bored or not able to pay attention - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Nov 7, 2016- marianne.barland marianne.barland Nov 1, 2016 [[user:ellen.k.fossvoll|1478547745]- ingrid.vinje ingrid.vinje Nov 10, 2016 - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander - jakob.harder jakob.harder Nov 16, 2016
    - Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 13, 2016 - helena.kvarnsell helena.kvarnsell Nov 15, 2016
  • All students get extra support in areas they might be struggling with, which can help improve performance and degree completion rates.
  • - morten.soby morten.soby Nov 13, 2016 real time formative assessment and skills based assessments, allowing teachers to monitor student learning as it happens and adjust their teaching accordingly. It may also enable the active participation of more students in classroom discussions. Technology-supported assessment enables skill development to be monitored in a more comprehesive way than is possible without ICT. - Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 13, 2016
  • In a time with a growing shortage of teachers I believe adaptive digital learning resources could be essential if we want students to get the guidance they need to reach their full potential.- Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 13, 2016
  • Adaptive formative assessment has been around for a while as a part of moving towards embedded forms of assessment. Adaptive assessment is challenging, because it requires a great number of test items. Its full potential has probably not been exploited.- oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 14, 2016 - jakob.harder jakob.harder Nov 16, 2016
  • I have during the last semester used an adaptive test tools in mathematics with my students. It gives me as a teacher very much information about what happens to the student without his having to answer as many math functions. Students usually think that it is good, but an interesting thing they mention is that they feel worse when they do these tests because they always get more and more difficult tasks when they answer correctly. - helena.kvarnsell helena.kvarnsell Nov 15, 2016 The part about them feeling "worse" I find really interesting! Thats worth considering.- lars.lingman lars.lingman Nov 17, 2016
  • I don't think this is anything very new. Maybe the modern applications are more sophisticated than the older ones, but basically this is based on drilling: practicing certain things again and again until you get the right answer - web-based language and math learning programs have used this way since the first pc:s. I prefer learning in real life context, solving real life problems together in teams. Instead of using a test tools, I'd observe and document the learning process, help the students to ask right questions and look at things from different perspectives. - tiinsari tiinsari Nov 16, 2016
  • My sense is this technology has to evolve another generation or two before it´s a huge thing. It has to move beyond basically diagnostic-test-telling-teacher-what-student-does-or-doesn't-know. This might take some time but has potential in the long run. - lars.lingman lars.lingman Nov 17, 2016
  • I agree that on one hand, there might be a potential in the long run, but for now, it is based on drilling, that is with the same challenges. If we want students to get the right answers, the potential is great. But I think we should be much more ambitious and that we should want the students to find the relevant questions. In the beginning, at basic levels, adaptive learning technologies might be useful, but not at the higher levels - when we want pupils and students to investigate, analyze, synthesize, create and evaluate. - Dorte Dorte Nov 20, 2016
  • - tero.rynka tero.rynka Dec 4, 2016Materials can also be adapted by learners outcome calculated on variables concerning different high-order thinking skills, collaboration skills and regulation skills. On these results can also be added learners self-evaluation and teachers evaluation on learning in different subjects. Our project, "Learning Ratio", tries to dive deeper on this kind solution.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Although there are many positive sides, there should be a discussion on the dilemmas related to the massive data collection done by these systems, and how algorithms might have embedded biases (on ethnicity, learning patterns, social factors etc). - marianne.barland marianne.barland Nov 1, 2016 - ingrid.vinje ingrid.vinje Nov 10, 2016 - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander - Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 13, 2016 - lars.lingman lars.lingman Nov 17, 2016
  • The risk of reducing learning to reproduction - Dorte Dorte Nov 20, 2016
  • - tero.rynka tero.rynka Dec 4, 2016How to use adaptive materials and assessments to identify learning disabilities.
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Adaptive learning technologies are best implemented in subjects where the understandig is based on specific criteria. Examples are math and other stem subjects. Language is also an area where this could have great benefits. By using technology that supports adaptive learning the teacher will be able to spend more time with the students on difficult questions and concepts. - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Nov 7, 2016 - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander - Anna.Carlsson Anna.Carlsson Nov 13, 2016
  • International research indicates that there is a great potential impact for both preschool and school for all kinds of children. It is not yet fullly developed or studied in the Nordic context.- susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander

  • - tero.rynka tero.rynka Dec 4, 2016Adaptivity can be used on any structured subject. It helps learners to get best available content served on most efficient way in order to provide better learning experiences -> better learning on individual level.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Example from Norway and Denmark:https://www.knewton.com/resources/press/gyldendal-denmark-partners-with-gyldendal-norway-and-knewton-to-distribute-personalized-courses-for-students/ - morten.soby morten.soby Oct 26, 2016 - ingrid.vinje ingrid.vinje Nov 10, 2016
  • At Lund University – The Educational Technology Group – an adaptive app for the preschool children is developed. Magical Garden is a Teachable Agent based learning game in mathematics for 4-year-olds, used in research, addressing questions on early mathematics learning, or learning that seems crucial to prepare a child so that s/he is receptive to mathematics teaching in preschool and early years in school. The preschool teachers make use of the game in a formative process. Here is some information to the research project: http://www.lucs.lu.se/etg-projects/ - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallander
  • - tero.rynka tero.rynka Dec 4, 2016With several European educational publishers and University of Jyväskylä we have posted a application to Horizon 2020-program. We try to create a model (Learning Ratio), where we could identify factors that has major affect on learners outcome in different subjects, and use those factors to adapt material based on their individual needs.
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