Smart Sparrow was spun out of the Adaptive eLearning Research Group at the University of New South Wales (check our awesome video on the good old research group’s web-site). Adaptive eLearning was originally the PhD research topic of Dr Dror Ben-Naim between 2005 and 2011, under the supervision of Dr Nadine Marcus and Dr Mike Bain at UNSW School of Computer Science and Engineering.
The Adaptive eLearning Research Group conducted research in the area of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) and Educational Data Mining with a focus on ITS authoring tools, Cognitive Load Theory, multimedia instructional design and strategies aimed at increasing teacher’s Pedagogical Ownership over ITS content.
Smart Sparrow maintains an excellent relationships with UNSW and actively supports research into Adaptive eLearning and related fields.
Starting in 2007, A/Prof. Gangadhara Prusty at UNSW, and subsequently in collaboration with 6 other leading universities of Australia in 2010, worked with Smart Sparrow to create a suite of Adaptive Tutorials that teach key threshold concepts in first and second year mechanics courses in engineering, a project that came to be known as Adaptive Mechanics..
The adaptive tutorials are highly engaging learning experiences in which students solve common engineering problems while interacting with interactive simulations. The tutorials dynamically adapts the feedback and lesson pathway to each student, providing them with a personalised learning experience (Prusty and Russell, 2011).
Professor Prusty used the analytics dashboards in Smart Sparrow’s platform to analyse what worked and what didn’t in his adaptive tutorials, and then modify them to better meet the needs of his students.
Students received constantly improving learning experiences that taught important threshold concepts with effective adaptive remediation for their misconceptions. This resulted in significant reduction in failure rate from 31% to 7% over the years and an increase in student’s achieving a High Distinction, from 5% to 18%.
Prusty, B.G., Russell, C. Engaging students in learning threshold concepts in engineering mechanics: adaptive eLearning tutorials, In: 17th International Conference on Engineering Education, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2011.