What Is Adaptive Learning and Why is it So Powerful?
Adaptive learning integrates the benefits of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, cognitive psychology, gamification and microlearning to offer a unique technology-driven mastery-based learning experience.
Adaptive learning uses technology to present customized learning pathways.
It adapts and personalizes the content and learning pathway for each learner, according to the individual’s responses in real time.
It’s the online version of one-on-one tutoring, bespoke learning for the individual, instead of one-size-fits-all training for the entire class.
Instructional designers carefully sequence and structure the learning pathways to improve student performance, to keep them engaged and to improve retention.
For example, a student who takes longer than average or achieves low scores in a module will progress to a different next lesson than a learner who masters it with a high score in record time.
Example of an adaptive pathway created using SimTutor’s branched scenario authoring tool.
What are the benefits of adaptive learning to the 21st century learner?
Offers personalized support to a diverse group
The technology can offer remediation, extra practice or words of encouragement to the struggling learner. It respects the prior knowledge and ability of the advanced learner. Instead of being bored and frustrated by obsolete repetition, she can fast-track to different content that is unfamiliar and suitably challenging. It ensures that both the less-skilled and the advanced students always get the most effective and appropriate learning experiences.
For example, in a multi-generational company where employees are being upskilled to use new software, some may feel intimidated by the challenge and they might need considerable basic training and much repetition. Others, who are more adept with technology will embrace the advances and learn more quickly.
Regardless of the learners’ previous level of education or ‘gaps’ in their subject knowledge, adaptive learning can enable all students of any age and socio-economic or educational background to learn. It can bring individualized learning to large numbers.
Adaptive learning avoids ‘teaching to the middle’.
Why should training change from traditional learning methods?
Modern learners are increasingly tech-savvy and eager to learn. They want flexibility and the ability to learn anytime and anywhere. They want to govern their own learning experiences and they want learning that is concise.
What are the benefits of adaptive learning for the institution/organization?
- Saves time and money
By focusing on the gaps in a learners’ knowledge, adaptive learning saves (down) time and money. Productivity is maximized as learners only spend time on the essential lessons.
Imagine if you could halve the training time of 1000 employees. That means instead of 8 hours of training, they could be actively working and being productive for an additional 4 hours each. That’s 4000 training hours saved and converted to productive work hours.
Adaptive learning is laser-focused, precision learning.
Cutting time to mastery can potentially have a huge, positive financial impact on an organization.
In a standard training program, all learners follow the same pathway and experience the same content. In adaptive learning, they receive on the lessons that they need to master to become more competent or skilled.
It enables learners to navigate challenging content without an instructor or tutor and to master lessons at their own pace.
- Respects prior knowledge and increases engagement
Adaptive learning has a huge impact on learners’ attitudes towards training, especially if its compulsory. When they feel that their prior knowledge is respected, they are not forced to endure boring, repetitive lessons and their time is not wasted, they are more likely to have a positive attitude towards the training.
Adaptive eLearning is a benefit, rather than a chore.
By using feedback to match the learning activities to the student’s abilities and/or interest minimizes the student’s frustration levels. Adapting the content to suit the student ensures that the student’s motivation and engagement is maximized.
- Meaningful interaction
Courses are engaging when they encourage meaningful interaction and give useful feedback. Branched scenarios can be used to plan and structure learning pathways for this purpose.
They can be used for adaptive learning on multiple subjects: software training, new hire onboarding, soft skills, leadership training, sales training and any other on-the-job skills that are suited for eLearning.
Why is adaptive eLearning significant?
Adaptive eLearning is a solution to the challenge of upskilling a heterogenous, multi-generational, globally scattered workforce with a diverse range of skills, abilities, and backgrounds.
It is a cost-effective tool to close existing skills gaps and to ensure mastery. When adaptive learning is harnessed with mobile learning, microlearning and simulation and scenario-based training, learners can experience customized, interactive learning-by-doing anytime, anywhere.
That’s what modern learners want. And in today's fast-paced corporate world, that's training that’s smart.