What are Adaptive Learning Technologies?

Adaptive learning technologies refer to software and online platforms that adjust to individual students’ needs as they learn. According to a paper commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and authored by Education Growth Advisors, adaptive learning is a “sophisticated, data-driven, and in some cases, nonlinear approach to instruction and remediation, adjusting to a learner's interactions and demonstrated performance level, and subsequently anticipating what types of content and resources learners need at a specific point in time to make progress." In this sense, contemporary educational tools are now capable of learning the way people learn; enabled by machine learning technologies, they can adapt to each student’s progress and adjust content in real-time or provide customized exercises when they need it. In higher education, many faculty envision these adaptive platforms as new, patient tutors that can provide personalized instruction on a large scale. There are two levels to adaptive learning technologies — the first platform reacts to individual user data and adapts instructional material accordingly, while the second leverages aggregated data across a large sample of users for insights into the design and adaptation of curricula.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • some of the graduate admissions tests, such as the GMAT, are now computer adaptive tests, and many libraries are involved as testing and support centers, so it would be good to be familiar with this concept. - MarwinBritto MarwinBritto Oct 19, 2016 - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Nov 8, 2016
  • this could be used in information fluency to adjust for the users understanding of material. - dianeb dianeb Oct 23, 2016
  • - wlougee wlougee Oct 25, 2016 Adaptive learning technologies encompass content for learning as well. Libraries can play role in both identification of content options, as well as development of content relays to integrate content in CMS's and adaptive learning environments.
  • - wlougee wlougee Oct 25, 2016 Given obvious issues of data privacy, Libraries can contribute policy expertise.- andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Nov 8, 2016- vacekrae vacekrae Nov 12, 2016
  • Adaptive learning techniques could be used in search technology, to adapt to the types of research people are looking for based on usage, downloads, etc. - vacekrae vacekrae Nov 12, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - wlougee wlougee Oct 25, 2016 The area of learning analytics, alluded to here, is growing in importance and perhaps a dimension in and of itself. Unizin collective project has specific focus to ensure that learning analytics stay within the academy rather than be usurped and held within commercial publishing sector. - sandore sandore Nov 13, 2016
  • - wlougee wlougee Oct 25, 2016 Issues around users with disabilities are part of this arena. Growing area of support, as technologies mature to enable access/use of content for print and other disabilities.- vacekrae vacekrae Nov 12, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • in the 1980s, integrated learning systems (ILSs) were very popular in K-12 in the US, and they were adaptive learning systems primarily in math and reading. I'm not sure why they fell out of favor, but it is interesting to see this pendulum swinging back. - MarwinBritto MarwinBritto Oct 19, 2016
  • in information literacy (IL), to be safe, we often prepare instruction presuming incoming university or college students do not have knowledge in this area. And many academic and research libraries have self-directed and self-paced tutorials on IL and other relevant library skills. With adaptive learning technologies, we could quickly meet the student where they are in terms of IL and other skills, and adaptive the learning to fill the gap. This could have positive implications for a variety of topics in the library field. - MarwinBritto MarwinBritto Oct 19, 2016
  • - liusq liusq Nov 12, 2016It is an educational method that could be used in information literacy. - sandore sandore Nov 13, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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