Roadmap To Adaptive Learning In The Wake Of COVID-19

Roadmap To Establishing Adaptive Learning Systems
Summary: Education technology becomes a true enabler when students gain control over their journey, whether in terms of the pace, format or other specific needs. Adaptive learning systems dynamically adjust to student interactions and performance levels.

Adaptive Learning Systems For Self-Led Learning

For years researchers have spoken about the importance of a data-driven and non-linear approach, in some cases, to educational instruction and remediation. Otherwise known as adaptive learning, the benefits of this approach are endless. It allows for personalized learning pathways for students, leading to greater student engagement and positive academic outcomes. However, an unprecedented shift in the education paradigm was needed for educational institutions worldwide to be able to implement this style of learning across the board.

The Silver Lining In The Pandemic

This shift came in the shape of an unprecedented global crisis in 2020 when classrooms across the world went online to enable continuous learning. EdTech tools came to the rescue to support teachers and deliver effective learning solutions. Since then, we have witnessed the rapid adoption of online learning and significant investment in hardware, software, content, and training to implement digital learning modules.

There is no doubt that EdTech interventions have been critical in addressing equity in learning. However, studies have shown that the overall success of the interventions depends on thoughtful customization of the EdTech solution. Technology alone cannot bring the necessary student learning outcomes. Educators and policymakers will need to look at how to bring adaptive learning to the post-pandemic world of education. This can help achieve better learning outcomes by promoting self-led learning.

Adaptive Learning Systems Promote Self-Led Learning

Education technology becomes a true enabler when students gain control over their journey, whether in terms of the pace, format, or other specific needs. As every student learns differently, they need a flexible system that allows for their individuality. In the absence of such a system, learning outcomes will differ for different students, regardless of being exposed to the same learning experiences.

Adaptive learning systems dynamically adjust to student interactions and performance levels. Content is delivered in their preferred format, in an appropriate sequence, and at specific points in the learning curve for students to make optimal progress.

One of the huge assets is the role of predictive analytics. AI-based learning systems can capture huge sets of student data, such as time spent completing each task, response latency, device usage, preferred content type, etc., to provide educators with key insights. Based on this, educators can develop personalized learning paths, provide support where required and even recommend content formats that would help.

However, with the sudden pandemic-led transition to online learning and the pace of innovation in EdTech tools, educators and policymakers might be confused about where to begin and what foundation they need in technology to provide adaptive learning.

So, here’s a look at some of the basic things educational institutions need to get right to use adaptive learning systems to their full potential.

Roadmap To Establishing Adaptive Learning Systems

An End-to-End Digital Learning Platform

Educational institutions will need to move beyond the basic LMS to a complete digital learning solution. If a cloud-based platform is chosen for this purpose, the transition to the system is eased. Firstly, the platform could easily integrate with the school’s existing LMS or digital ecosystem, so that the staff and faculty require minimal training to use the new platform. Also, being cloud-based, the institutions do not need to invest in expensive hardware and software to be able to use the EdTech tools. The same platform could help school districts monitor various aspects too, without the need for any additional efforts from individual schools.

Enabling Offline Solutions To Promote Equity In Education

In 2020, online platforms were used extensively by policymakers (83% of countries) to deliver education remotely, while schools remained closed. However, only a quarter of the schoolchildren worldwide had access to this facility. Over 31% of school children globally do not have the means to access remote learning. While EdTech can promote equity in learning, policymakers need to consider the lack of internet availability or personal devices in lower-income households. While schools can seek organizations that provide refurbished devices at little or even no cost, a digital learning platform that allows offline access to content can enhance inclusivity in education. In addition, if the platform supports multiple languages, inclusivity is further promoted, especially among the various ethnicities in a school.

Detailed Curriculum Mapping And Content Development

Whether policymakers adapt or build a system from scratch, adaptive learning systems need to support learning objectives through detailed curriculum mapping and content development. But, the efficacy of the system depends on the educators’ abilities as well. Specifically, they need to be trained on how to use the technology properly to aid student development. Even if governments decide to outsource curriculum mapping, they will need to involve teachers in the process. Platforms that offer intuitive content authoring tools will be useful in this context.

Student Data Protection And Privacy Measures

Lastly, with the huge amount of student data that will be online, platforms have to be compliant and ensure data protection. Apart from strong encryption algorithms, platforms that comply with FERPA, COPPA, GDPR, etc., depending on where the educational institution is based, should be preferred.

The pandemic has highlighted the efficacy of adaptive learning systems and that they are the future of education. For educational institutions, it will become a key differentiator. Such systems will provide opportunities to drive personalized, accessible, inclusive, engaging, and impactful learning. However, with the complexities of deploying these systems, institutions need to establish enabling conditions so that the technology can be utilized to its full potential, cost-effectively.