For success after college, students need more than the traditional lecture format that most colleges and universities use. Demand from employers for graduates who have key critical thinking and problem-solving skills is growing, and having the ability to apply coursework to real-life challenges can literally determine a student’s career success. Meaning the way things are taught– or the type of instructional activity adopted by higher education institutions– is becoming increasingly important. Instead of passively listening and taking notes, students stand to benefit most from a model that’s interactive, exploration-driven, and project-based.

According to a recent article in the Financial Review, this kind of course model (that uses adaptive learning platforms, simulations, and communication and collaboration tools can go a long way towards bridging the skills gap between students’ experiences in college and employers’ expectations. We are thrilled that the Financial Review and the World Economic Forum credits Smart Sparrow as one of the new education technologies that’s helping to do that. (Incidentally, the latest World Economic Forum report found Australia, our home country, as one of the top scorers for curiosity, information and communication technology literacy, financial literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving.)

ASU’s flagship “smart course” in science – ‘Habitable Worlds’ course – offers one such example. Professor Ariel Anbar used the Smart Sparrow Adaptive eLearning Platform to create an innovative first-year general-education science course designed for students apply their knowledge in a project-based manner, using logic and reasoning to solve problems. Many of the 1,500+ students who have taken it have reported that the course was more challenging than a typical lecture, but also much more enjoyable.

Fortunately higher education institutions can address this skills gap, by utilizing existing education technologies to design courses that are rich, interactive and adaptive, and thereby giving students the next generation learning experiences they need to succeed in their professional life.