Instructional designers face many challenges when building a unique and personalized learning experience: it has to be pedagogically sound while also being engaging; it has to be intuitive and aesthetically pleasing, while also maintaining a strong user experience. The aspect that is paramount over all these, however, is meeting the learning objectives for which the experience is intended. Instructors often feel overwhelmed with striving to create an outstanding learning experience and may lose sight of the key goal: the learning objectives.

Instructional design 101 tells us that learning objectives should always be stated to the learner loud and clear before they embark on their learning adventure. However, how much of the awareness of the learning objectives does the learner retain through their learning experience? How do we ensure that learning objectives are consistently at the forefront of the learner’s mind? How can we use learning objectives to empower the learner to take responsibility of their learning experience? Adaptive elearning can help answer all of these questions.

So how can we can use adaptive elearning to ensure learning objectives are being met?

Adaptive feedback- right time, right place

Adaptive feedback is immediate feedback tailored to a specific action (or actions) of a learner. It has a crucial role in making learning objectives relevant to the learner because the instantaneous nature of adaptive feedback makes it stick.

Adaptive feedback can be used in two ways – for reinforcement and for guidance. When a student demonstrates that they achieve a learning objective, adaptive feedback should reinforce they have indeed achieved this and explain the relevance for why the learning objective met is important. Adaptive feedback should also be used to guide the learner in the event that they have not met the desired learning objective. This type of feedback should guide the learner to the desired outcome while keeping the them challenged.

Adaptive learning pathways – flipping the responsibility

Adaptive pathways can be used to simulate real-life decision making scenarios by taking a learner down a personalized learning pathway as a consequence of a decision they have chosen. When the learner is faced with a real-life challenge and real-life decision making, they will take it upon themselves to overcome the challenge ahead of them, thereby adopting a more active approach to their learning experience.

Using adaptive pathways in this way flips the responsibility of meeting them onto the learner which will solidifies the learning objectives.

Learning analytics – determining the success of achieving learning objectives

The key to determining the success of whether a learning experience has targeted and successfully allowed the learner to achieve the learning objectives is using learning analytics. Back to instructional design 101, we know that learning objectives should always be measurable – but how well do instructors evaluate the learning experience and measure whether it has achieved what it was set out to do?

Learning analytics are an indicator of how successful the instructional design has been executed as they provide detailed insights into student performance and if misconceptions were correctly addressed. Analytics enable instructors to reflect on the merit of their instruction, adapt and improve their approach so students achieve the required learning objectives.

So achieving learning objectives within an engaging and personalized online learning experience is not about some sort of magic. Technologies like our Adaptive eLearning Platform have been specifically designed to give instructors complete control over their students learning experiences, ensuring learning objectives are met, and kept relevant and clear.

Alison Murray, Instructional Designer