In order to get a grasp of what adaptive learning is all about; let’s understand the fundamentals of e learning and how advances in technology are allowing us to progress.
On-line Learning and LMS systems
On-line learning has been around for the past decade or so. Initially it was somewhat restricted in that it was really just a data storage area to keep learning content in a centralized place and to “feed it to learners when required”. Learning Management Systems (or LMS’S) required an onsite server to keep track of all the content and manage the learner process. Content was limited, relatively boring and adding content like video meant a whole lot more server space.
Cloud based Computing
Since the advance in bandwidth speed and cloud based computing, this can now happen in the cloud. That does away with the need for expense servers and plenty of input from the IT department.
If the system is based in the cloud, then it means that learners can have access via the internet. They don’t have to be plugged into the company’s intranet any more. It is just like visiting any other website. They can log in from a laptop, tablet or Smartphone.
There are lots of other advantages too. A really good online learning system in the cloud means that the software platform is updated in real time. No longer does one have to purchase an upgrade every year or so to stay up to date. Upgrades happen seamlessly every day of the year, so the technology is always cutting edge. The platform itself is stored on a large cloud server. The huge amount of storage means that adaptive learning architecture can be used to process data. This would not be possible of it was restricted to an onsite server.
So what then is Adaptive Learning?
In short, it is the process by which the knowledge of a learner is continually evaluated and the content of a course automatically adjusted to suit the knowledge shortfalls of that particular learner. This means the learner learns what he does not know rather than have to process content for which there is already a good grasp. For the first time ever we no longer have to teach students in a one size fits all environment. Each course is completely personalized to suit the individual.
In everyday life, we are starting to see examples of adaptive technology. When you buy a book through Amazon for example, it makes suggestions of other books you may like. When you search for something on Google, adaptive search means the results that interest you most will come up. That is based on your own search history and your own interests. If someone else looks for the same word they will get a different result.
Knowledge retention systems
The retention of knowledge is usually achieved through systematic repetition of knowledge. “Practice makes perfect” as the saying goes. Adaptive learning technology cleverly uses a system of continuous measure to reinforce knowledge retention whilst at the same time generating data regarding knowledge levels. This data is then used to adjust course content. So, in basic terms, learners will be regularly invited to answer questions as part of the learning process. The next part of their course will be adjusted to suit the results.
In summary, the LA Intronet learning solution provides
A Learner Management System or LMS
• Manage Students
• Manage Content
• Design Courses – Authoring system (Scorm Compliance)
A Knowledge Retention System
• Memo Trainer
• Smart Phone application
• Questions at set frequency
• Creates some data for adaptive process
Adaptive Learning Technology
• Constantly adjusts content
• Adaptive Algorithms
• Cloud based system