Do you have any idea how we started learning stuff when we were kids? Have you ever observed a new born kid and wondered how he or she understands things without teaching them anything? We can learn things on our own and there is a certain pace for that process. This pace will be different for different individuals. Some kids learn faster than others. But, this doesn’t mean that they are always smarter than others. One of the biggest problems with our education system is that it requires all the students to learn at the same pace. What is the end result? Every kid will have to get adjusted to this pace. Is that doing any good? Absolutely NOT! So, we need some new perspective. Adaptive Learning is something I would like to suggest.
Adaptive Learning: Concept and Tool
When we say adaptive learning, we are referring to it as a concept as well as a tool at the same time. While the concept has been here for centuries, Adaptive Learning has been adopted as a tool in the last century only with the advent in the computer science and technology. Concept is very simple to understand. Adaptive Learning is personalized Learning. Where the conventional learning treats all the students equally, Adaptive learning understands and admits the uniqueness of each student. Adaptive learning as a tool incorporates computers and technology to assess the learner’s performance and deliver content accordingly.
A simple example would be Khan Academy‘s Interactive Learning Interface. I have experimented with their basic algebra course and found it to be really amazing. What they do is very fundamental. Instead of teaching us the ABC of algebra, they ask us to start doing problems directly. Problems are given weightage based on their difficulty level. When we do a problem correctly, we will be given a problem with higher weightage, in the next turn. If we fail to answer one question, we will be given questions with the same weightage until we produce a right answer. There will be resources available to learn about the topics we don’t know. So, we can save a considerable amount of our time without going through stuff we already know and make use of that time to advance in the subject.
Why Adaptive Learning?
Every human being has got their own style of learning. Not everyone is perfect, so some necessary corrections should be provided to some individuals. But, this correction should be provided only after properly understanding and evaluating their learning style. This is where our system gets it wrong.
The current system make students follow a common style of learning and brands everything else as ‘wrong’. What will be the output of such a system? Educational institutions will become factories for producing clones. This tailored learning won’t do any good to the learners. Learners who are passive receptors in the conventional learning systems, transform to active collaborators in Adaptive Learning. That is what is promising about Adaptive Learning.
Personalized Learning And Automated Teaching
There are two things that constitute and Adaptive Learning system: Personalized Learning and Automated Teaching. In order to achieve personalized learning, first we need to restructure the learning materials. Content should be modified and made available based on student demands. Of course, there had been teaching from ancient times itself, who practiced such a strategy. The teacher guides the learner according to his current knowledge and capabilities to learn new stuff. Now, we don’t need human resources to achieve this any more. With the advancements in predictive modeling, learning analytics, and the promising researches in brain science and cognition, we are able to develop smart machines that can serve as a virtual personal assistant for the learners.
At the same time, the old-school lectures had their on advantages. In Adaptive Learning, the lectures and demonstrations are prerecorded and made available to the learners even before the teaching sessions, so they can come prepared and clarify their doubts in person with the facilitator. So, the faculty takes less time to deliver content and becomes a supporter in the learning process. Many universities have successfully implemented this system and it is high time that our primary education system start focusing towards this area.
Implement It NOW!
We are already late and we really don’t want to waste any more time. So, start today. That will be my advice. Remember one thing! Everything an adaptive learning system can perform, have already been performed by our teachers and professors. But, such a technology can speed up the process and with effective monitoring, can bring dramatic changes to our education system.
Before you leave, watch this powerful video ‘The Amazing Story of Adaptive Learning’ by Pearson Higher Education that shows you what adaptive learning is.
I just shared a few insights about Adaptive Learning from my experience and I would definitely like to hear your thoughts on the same. Feel free to share your ideas or experience. Have a nice day.