The origin: Research in Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Educational Data Mining
Adaptive eLearning is a new learning and teaching medium that uses an Intelligent Tutoring System to adapt online learning to the student’s level of knowledge. Adaptive eLearning provides students with customised educational content and the unique feedback that they need, when they need it.
To understand where Adaptive eLearning came from, let’s look at the evolution of technology in education. A paradigm shift occurs with each introduction of enabling technology, resulting in a prevailing implementation.
So what is Adaptive eLearning?
Adaptive eLearning creates the best possible learning experience for students by emulating the talents of great educators. This is achieved by using technologies that adapt and shape teaching to the needs of the individual student.
Each student is unique, has varying levels of knowledge and learns differently. Our research, and that of others, has shown that student performance improves when online educational content is personalised.
At Smart Sparrow – Adaptive eLearning is not about some sort of magic, super complex, black box algorithm.
Instead – Smart Sparrow empowers educators with a suite of easy to use tools that allows them to create and teach with – rich, interactive, and adaptive educational courseware.
We believe that teachers should have complete control over their students’s learning experience.
Additionally, an Adaptive eLearning Platform provides teachers with a window into their students’ learning for the lessons they’ve created. Real time Learning Analytics provide actionable insights into what students know, what misconceptions they may have, and how they are interacting with content. This feature keeps teachers in control – and allows them to continuously adapt and improve their lessons.
And how exactly is the learning adaptive?
There are three levels of adaptivity that have been built into our platform in order to empower teachers – Adaptive Feedback based on what the student does and knows, Adaptive Pathways that offer varying sequences of content to each student, and the ability for an instructor to Adapt their Teaching – change the content based on an analysis of how their students learn.
1. Instant Adaptive Feedback
Students make mistakes: they forget what was said in the lecture, they confuse terms, they use the wrong formula. When this happens teachers provide feedback to students as they learn in order address a misconception. Adaptive eLearning systems allow teachers to do the same by providing instant intelligent feedback exactly when it is needed. Feedback can come in two forms:
- Informative – text, images or videos that appear based on a student’s interaction, which is aimed to guide them to the correct answer or offer additional information in order to formalise a specific learning objective. For example, after recognising a common misconception based on a student’s response to a question, feedback from lecture notes can be shown to the student to refresh their understanding of the concept being assessed.
- Intervention – means stepping “into” the activity in order to help a student if they are struggling with a particular concept. For example, show a student the correct response after too many incorrect attempts, or dynamically set the state of a simulation, like calibrating an apparatus in a Virtual Lab, to indicate the next step towards the solution.
2. Adaptive Pathways
Each student is different. They learn at varying rates, have different levels of knowledge, and different misconceptions. Teachers need to cater to the individual student. For example, if a student already knows what they are doing they should skip ahead to a more challenging task, or if a student is struggling and missing some required knowledge then they should be directed to resources that help them understand that particular concept.
Adaptive eLearning systems lead students via different Learning Pathways. But content to students based on rules that the teacher controls – so that each student gets a customised learning path based on their demonstrated understanding to a set of questions.
3. Adapt your teaching
A good teacher adapts their teaching to their students. Every time a lecture is given, it’s an improved version based on past experience teaching that subject. Teachers regularly adapt homework and assignments based on their students’ performance. It’s all about continually learning how to teach better.
But once teachers are using technology, changing online educational content often involves the need to work with programmers, designers, and complex software systems. A truly Adaptive eLearning system has analytics tools that allow teachers to understand their students’ learning and then modify their online lessons accordingly using authoring tools. This empowers teachers with the ability to easily and continuously improve their content and teaching.