From Adobe to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the education community is discussing a new generation of e-Learning. Across disciplines and sectors, educators are beginning to understand how to leverage the power, and circumvent the challenges, of the latest online learning tools.
Steven Mintz started an interesting discussion on InsideHigherEd.com recently about the clear benefits of these tools to instructors in a higher education setting. Today, we’d like to put a spotlight on two of the benefits he touches on: personalization and data-driven adaptive learning.
Many have experienced the impracticalities of a “one size fits all” approach in any arena. This philosophy is quickly becoming outmoded in higher education. Evidence of a shift toward a more personalized learning experience at all levels of education is increasingly prevalent and echoes of this can be heard even from our government. A Whitehouse.gov blog post from December of 2013 reads, “…learning in the future ought to be more personalized. Teachers should have up-to-the minute information that will help them tailor instruction for each student.”
In a personalized learning environment, instructors can update and adjust digital curriculum to personalize content for the needs of an individual, or a group within a larger classroom.
Using Data to Uncover Curriculum Gaps
Further to the point of a more personalized online or real-space classroom, the term “adaptive learning” has entered the discourse. Adaptive learning leans on data and testing to drive both the build of learning tech, and subsequent curriculums.
Adaptive learning technology adjusts the student’s experience as they learn, based on the way the student engages with their teaching technology. Instructors can receive real-time feedback on where students are excelling, or where students may be missing something important.
Adaptive learning tests have yielded exciting results including vastly improved test scores and pass rates. These systems can recommend additional resources to students who excel, or quiz and add extra practice for the areas where extra work is needed. Other advancements, including the advent of learning analytics engines can help teachers to enhance the performance of their students.
E-Learning is still a relatively new concept, held up against the backdrop of hundreds of years of established higher learning methods, but this new system is evolving quickly into its next incarnation.