Adaptive Learning in Higher Education

Students in higher education today are faced with an ever-changing and demanding world in regards to the technological transformation that businesses and society are facing. In order to keep pace with the technological change, students must be provided the latest learning methodologies and a tailored curriculum for the workforce. While the rise of internships and co-ops have provided students with the opportunity to gain real-world experiences, the classroom itself needs to be transformed to adapt to the 21st century.

Adaptive learning has become a buzzword in our education system and for a good reason. Adaptive tools provide a system that evolves and tailors itself to each student, allowing them to effectively understand new material at their own pace. Unlike traditional learning methods, adaptive learning gauges the ability of individual users and adjusts to challenge each individual user. This new technology can help colleges move away from teaching a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Lessons and exams can be tailored to a students ability, allowing them to learn at a pace that suits them best. Thus, adaptive technology can improve productivity and focus, leaving more time for meaningful discussions with professors and valuable in-class periods. In higher education, classes may only meet a couple of times a week so professors must optimize the time when class is held and adaptive learning will allow both professors and students to make the most of the time they are together. In addition, there is an increased interest in independent study and combining coursework to better align with a student’s interests and needs. Adaptive learning fits well into today’s high education system in that it inherently views the student body as individuals, allowing students to personalize their students to an extend that was not possible a decade ago.

Futhermore, adaptive schoolwork is often more interactive and engaging than traditional learning methods, using a more tailored and personalized approach as a technique to make learning enjoyable for users. Students in higher education often focus on more than one subject at a time. As a result, professors may find it difficult to get buy-in from students, making adaptive learning an important motivational as well as educational tool. More specifically, the use of goal-oriented computer modules and challenged-based games have been shown to improve student engagement and allow students to use the same technology they use regulary for educational purposes.

Simple examples of adaptive technology in higher education include the implementation of adaptive curricula. Depending on the end goal of a student, a personalized curriculum can be developed to best prepare him or her for a post-higher education career. On a more day-to-day basis, analytics and data tracking will allow students to hone into where they need to improve and focus in on those areas. With technology, traditional problems sets that are standard over the years can be adjusted in real-time as students work through different questions. In sum, there is great potential for the inclusion of more adaptive learning methods in higher education and a technological tool that should be leveraged.


More places to find info on Adaptive Learning in Higher Ed

Ed Surge: With Adaptive Tech, Students Are Saving Money and Learning More

Forbes: Rethinking Higher Ed: A Case for Adaptive Learning

Ed Tech: Adaptive Learning and Partnerships Drive Academic Transformation

Ed Surge: Failing Forward With Adaptive Learning in Higher Ed


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Adaptive Learning in K12 | Adaptive Learning in Corporate Learning