Week 10: Adaptive Learning Technology

WEEK 10: Adaptive Learning Technology

Welcome to week 10. 

This week we’ve prepared a learning experience about adaptive learning technologies. There’s even a short (optional) lesson built in the adaptive learning platform Cerego for you to try-out if you want. We think it’s pretty neat and you’ll need to send us your email as early in the week as possible to get the most out of it. (Click here to register for Cerego) The form is also embedded on the Cerego page on our site.

The content for the week can be found on our google site here: Adaptive Learning Technology.

There are 3 activities plus one optional activity (Cerego) that you may complete at any time throughout the week. 

  1. The “intro activity”
  2. Share your experiences
  3. Answer one of the “question clusters” (found on the summary page) below.
  4. OPTIONAL Cerego experience

And let us know how we can improve the site, and any questions you have.

Sally, Tiffany and Lyon


( Average Rating: 4.5  )

42 responses to “Week 10: Adaptive Learning Technology”

  1. SallyB
    If anyone who registered for Cerego is awaiting to access; we check the form multiple times daily and you’ve all been registered to date. 🙂 Please check your email inbox folders for something from “Cerego” to get started.
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  2. Siobhán McPhee
    Thanks for a really informative overview of adaptive technologies. I think there is massive potential in the use of adaptive technologies in the current personalized learning spaces as you illustrated with the examples from Duolingo, the piano app and Noom. I don’t have much experience in the K-12, but there is so much resistance to adaptive learning within the university level which is such a shame. The only time it is being used is by individual instructors within their courses without any institutional consensus. To the first ‘ponder’ question on where they will evolve in the future, I do believe that there will be increasing pressure from students to have their learning styles be acknowledged. The only way to accommodate and adapt learning for different learning styles is to offer more adaptive opportunities whether it be through a new LMS or simply through teachers/educators offering different avenues for students within their courses/classrooms. I have found that using interactive platforms which enable students to work through activities at their own pace and then offering them the solutions as they complete the actives, a very helpful way to engage students who learn at different time scales. This became very apparent during the pandemic. To your third ‘ponder’ question, I would argue that a system controlled situation is going to offer more of a holistic experience for students as they are forced to challenge themselves. Not all students have the ability to design their own learning process and so a learner controlled might limit them to what they find ‘doable’ without forcing them to explore outside the pathway. I would suggest that all learners need some framework within which to operate and a system controlled approach would enable them, where a learners controlled would create too much ambiguity – I am basing this claim on my experience of working with students of all ages. It is a fine balance of course and one which is still;l being worked out. I signed up to explore Cerego so I’ll comment on that later in the week 🙂
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Siobhán, Thank you for the thoughtful post. 🙂 Two BIG issues we encountered encountered researching and exploring this topic were: 1. What the heck even IS adaptive tech! There is A LOT of noise and confusion out there on this topic which creates finding legitimate/viable adaptive solutions difficult. (As alluded to by Shaun, below ) 2. Solutions available for education right now are somewhat limited OR behind a price-wall, high barrier to entry and/or integrated with an LMS We found several stand-alone solutions for math (Shout-out to Simin and Math XL!) and non-traditionally academic niche uses, like some of the apps you mention. Flash card apps with adaptive tech. were also something we encountered and may have forgotten to include in our examples. (We’ll get one in there in the re-post…I believe Brainscape was one…) All of this is to say, yes, I’ve also seen little uptake of adaptive solutions in my workplace, and I wonder if it’s more because the technology is still limited and/or not matured for every subject? Ultimately I think you’re right about the the connection of ‘adaptive solutions’ to other “opportunity forecasts” like self-directed learning, personalized learning, and even micro-learning. As these concepts/pedagogies grow, AI and adaptive solutions (via increasingly better feedback loops) will increasingly be able to off/load certain learning activities, freeing instructors up for more complex and relational learning activities. You highlighted the challenge of a purely “recommender system” perfectly, I think. Adaptive solutions may have to strike a balance between both, and perhaps will one day be able to adjust and make recommendations in some circumstances, and requirements in other, all based on individual student input/activity.
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  3. Simin Rupa
    Hi team! I have loved your AL OER. The “Thoughts to Ponder” and the visuals made the content easy to view and digest. I think some other types of activities or examples would offer a more engaging site. RESPONSE TO CLUSTER: Adaptive Learning and Gamification. Whilst adaptive learning has gamification aspects, I do not believe it is the final frontier of gamification. Gamification is a broad category, and you can find these aspects in nearly all educational technology programs now. Adaptive learning, which is a feedback loop, results in the side-effect of gamification. The statement of ‘all ll forms of gamification use adaptive algorithms but not all adaptive algorithms are gamification’, fits better for me. Gamification vs Game-Based Learning is something we explored for our OER, I think a better statement would be “successful forms of game-based learning utilize adaptive algorithms”. In the current market adaptive algorithms and gamification are not prepared to take over the primary educator role. I think coupled with other mediums such as LMS they could offer a role for adult educators, however public school students would still require more support than programs can offer.
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    1. SallyB
      Thanks for the feedback Simin! 🙂 Good point about different activities, we’ll try to get somethin different added to the repost. Maybe something visual?… This is a great line – “Adaptive learning, which is a feedback loop, results in the side-effect of gamification.” and also ” “successful forms of game-based learning utilize adaptive algorithms”. Both clearly illustrate the connection of “adaptive tech” to gamification and game based learning. I think we agree that adaptive learning is not mature enough to replace a teacher, however as it is better able to leverage ‘machine learning’, I would expect adaptive systems to become more nuanced and user-friendly. For example, instead of having to to complete a review activity, maybe the student can “interrupt” and ask to bypass, at which time the system would drill down, gather more user input, re-analyze and adjust its response. I’m not aware of any systems that can do something like this yet, but I expect them to someday exist.
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      1. Simin Rupa
        An option to bypass/halt/challenge would be so incredible! Sometimes even Adaptive technologies take too long to catch on.
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  4. shaun holma
    Hi week 10 members. I thought you did a great job at presenting such a critical concept to education. I will provide an answer to one of your posed cluster questions but allow me first to make a few comments on your OER. First, it was great that you to began the OER with an operational definition (while acknowledging others). Especially with the diversity within an online classroom full of students around the world, perspectives on any topic – much more so on a complex topic such as adaptive learning – will inevitably vary. Your videos were short and to the point and were well-positioned in your literature. The only suggestion I have here is there seems to be a natural overlap between the content on the intro page and the second last page (ALTS in education). Perhaps there’s room to merge these pages? Onto question #4. In regards to your question “is it worthwhile then to think more about how we can help students become more adaptable?”, I say yes but with a caveat. Students, particularly younger ones, can develop their character. But because personality traits are relatively stable over time and across situations, especially the Big 5 you listed in the Cerego assignment, educators need to acknowledge that behavioral change is often slow and gradual. Nah, emails don’t bother me. As I’m sure most others do too, I have my own system for organizing email in a way that affords me to manage my communication orderly and effectively. The emails from Cerego are not all that different from notifications from my favorite news apps in that they both encourage me to stay informed. The key difference is with the news app I am reminded to catch up on or review current events. Although the Cerego platform may deliver on its intentions (distributive learning, desirable difficulty, retrieval practice, etc.) by sending these emails, I don’t necessarily believe they motivate me. Speaking of intentions, I found the way Cerego defines the term ‘primacy effect’ interesting as I normally conceive of it quite differently. In using the Cerego platform itself, I’ll say my experience was great. I found the platform was user-friendly and the content was relevant and reviewable. It has some nice features like the readiness score, Smart Notifications, and its ability to integrate with commonly used LMS platforms. When I initially logged on, I was a little confused about what to do next, however. Though I eventually found my way, it may help to have more information (i.e., a tutorial) on what users should expect before they log on for the first time. Upfront instructions are especially important when users are using trial versions as these platforms often throw marketing activities into the mix. I really like the idea that the platform can create topical courses easily. With the emphasis on rapid learning in the recent past, Cerego is worth exploring more thoroughly. Having the platform scan for relevant open content is a time saver. I think the Smart Create feature which suggests content and material for a course can be a great tool but am a little concerned about over-reliance on the output (suggestions). Question: About seven or eight years ago, there was the hype over games like Lumosity that were supposedly based on neuroscience. In time, evidence emerged that these brain training games actually don’t work (as claimed). Recognizing this particular platform claims to use cognitive science principles (and not neuroscience), do you nevertheless hold skepticism of the validity of its claims?
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    1. SallyB
      HI Shaun, great post! We’ll reply later today.
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    2. tiffany ku
      Hi Shaun, thanks for the very thoughtful sharing and feedback! We will definitely look into merging the pages/ reorganizing the content for our repost. You bring up a great point about behavioural change as being slow and gradual, requiring motivation. To add to your point, I think instructors and teachers also need to recognize that the traits of adaptiveness (for example, openness and conscientiousness) can be identified and exercised in many different settings. In the context of education, self-regulated learning as a form of “adaptiveness” in students is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced over time. Would you agree? What are some ways that you have taught / have seen others teach adaptability in students? Is there a pedagogical model that promotes adaptivity in students better than others? Yes, I remember playing Lumosity some years back! I remember that the leaf game was my favourite… what a disappointment that all those precious hours were not put to better use playing CandyCrush instead. Haha! But what an interesting point you brought up. I think that while both Lumosity and Cerego have some similarities in that they are meant to improve “performance” in some way, the apps’ content and mechanisms are quite different. This is how I understand it: The Lumosity experience is grounded on a series of non-verbal, reaction-based, and memory games which users are to play and practice repeatedly to “improve brain function”, which to me is a very vague claim. The sequence of the game is different each time so there is no real “retention”, although you may become better at anticipating the next thing in each game and decrease reaction time. I would however attribute this to understanding the game rules better and just knowing how the game works. What sets Cerego apart is that it is (in our course, at least) content/ knowledge-based, where content is explicitly presented, and then assessed through questions designed by the course creator. In following engagements on the app, the same questions are asked but in different ways/ with different wordings. Cerego claims to improve information retention through repetition of specific content, which is pretty much how the app works. The biological process of information retention can be explained by basic neuroscience on how memory is converted from short term to long term memory. I do agree with you however that it is good practice to hold skepticism with platforms involving cognitive science principles and even neuroscience- it never hurts to ask these questions!
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      1. shaun holma
        Hi Tiffany, thanks for your excellent reply. I think along the same lines as you and feel Cerego promotes sound research. I’m developing an idea for A3 and I’ll be checking back with this platform as I work away at it. Onto your questions, I would agree self-regulated learning needs to be learned and practiced over time. Before my family returned to Korea last year, my primary contract was to develop workshops for staff and students of a program that was created specifically to assist in the advancement of education, employment opportunities, and cultural preservation for First Nation peoples in Ontario. Being it at the time was a pilot program, we as a team had quite a bit of flexibility in the design and development of workshops. I often proposed a lot of learning around soft-skills development. Developing my skill with eLearning authoring tools, my designs probably would fit with what your team termed pseudo-adaptive solutions. Exercises, assessments, and even whole courses were branched to meet the unique needs of learners and staff of the program. As for your question about which pedagogical model promotes adaptivity in students, I would go with those that fall under Cognitivism. Cognitivism focuses on human thought, and inclusively emphasizes memory, information processing, and other cognitive elements. These mental, non-observable activities are seen in the Cerego platform whereby the focus is on information storage, organization, and retrieval.
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  5. Josh Wood
    Hi All, Firstly, thanks for taking the time to create this exceptional OER. I found the amount of content to be exactly what I needed; enough depth was covered without becoming too lengthy. I also appreciated the connection you made between gamification (a topic I’m familiar with) and ALT (which is relatively new to me). Perhaps the most engaging and motivating gamification experiences would need to include ALTs to continually have the learner in somewhat of a ‘flow’ state. An adaptive platform gives the learner instant feedback, but also attempts to create the right amount of challenge without creating a frustrating experience. I see significant potential with this type of technology and I believe there is potential for it to replace a traditional teacher in some contexts. We are already seeing this with learners choosing to use apps like Duolingo or Simply Piano instead of in-person learning with a qualified instructor.
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Josh, Thanks for the feedback! 🙂 There’s significant academic literature available if you pop “gamification” and “adaptive learning” into the library search! From dynamically capturing facial expressions to predict performance and update training sets, to adapting gaming features based on learner profiles, there is lots of promising research happening, much of it technical to read and not widely available to experiment with. One particularly interesting read was about an adaptive gamified learning system (AGLS), from 2020, that combined techniques of gamification, classification, and adaptation to increase the effectiveness of e-learning. In this study, students in the control group self-reported only a small increase in engagement, however they performed better in post-tests. It seems “Gamification” and “Adaptive Learning Technology” are a logical combination to try to increase student engagement and motivation – they go together like peanut butter and jelly. 🙂 LOVE that term FLOW state, I just heard it in relation to gaming recently (which seems like a weird admission… .) But yeh, that increased focus and immersion is how adaptive technologies might REALLY enhance games and gamification in education someday, and there are definitely some (obscure?) experiments/research happening out there and I think, short to medium term, we’re likely to continue to see the most action in stand-alone apps, like you mention Reference: Daghestani, L. F., Ibrahim, L. F., Al‐Towirgi, R. S., & Salman, H. A. (2020). Adapting gamified learning systems using educational data mining techniques. Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 28(3), 568-589. https://doi.org/10.1002/cae.22227
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  6. luke pereira
    HI group – I really enjoyed learning about ALT. The website was clear and loved the flow. I did notice earlier in the week, when you click “next” after meet the authors page, it skips the Cerego page which i missed, until I saw it on the top menu tab. Also the Cerego site, while a great LMS, i found to be a little lost as the UX was not clear on what and where I was suppose to go. It was a lot of clicking around and trial and error to navigate. Maybe it was just me. 🙂 but i managed to get in and complete the task. On to the question: Do you think the major Learning Management Systems (LMS’) will continue to enhance the use of student data/analytics or will NEW LMS’ disrupt the market with advanced adaptive features? I want to acknowledge by saying, I work in the HR and manager an HR LMS system which is very different from the student version from what I see. Data Privacy is layer that is often not talked about and for any technology, it is important to have dialogue and also transparency on how this data/analytic is hosted and used. While, apps tend to be the norm for quick and easy production of learning content, quality and privacy of individuals should be high on the list. while you stated enhancing the use of data, I would be curious on how they do it, what is involved, who gets to code that algorithm? etc etc. So there are many back end pieces to consider with data. Also, at my institution when we procure new technologies, we make sure to do an accessibility check and also read the privacy report to make sure student, staff, faculty information is not going to be sitting on data servers in other countries. We tend to support local business and have an attitude of “buy Canada” first than the US, unless it’s a last resort. Sometimes we have no choice, but reading the fine print is important regardless. While, I’m all in for new adaptive features, I want to see improvement on the current before jumping on to new features. Maybe introducing iterative features that enhance productivity, learning engagement and collaboration. Also, on the topic of ALT, I’m currently doing research on visually impaired and other disability group enrolment into STEM programs in post-secondary. Students with disabilities have an extra layer of challenge when it comes to accessible software and many ALTs exclude those groups entirely. The only information on ALT for the blind in my search was from 2012, and that too, was from a student perspective https://vimeo.com/49216384. I do realize the challenges companies developing ALT face in being inclusive, but just something to keep in mind and perhaps maybe have on the website on what is being done to address the inclusiveness for all students. As educators, we have to adapt to the teaching styles accommodate all students, regardless of barriers. There are 1000s of assistive technologies out there to help disability groups navigate around physical spaces and objects, but I’m sure we not far too long before ALT’s will blend in and reduce barriers with those groups.
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    1. SallyB
      THANK YOU for the button info! Sorry about that. updated now. 🙂 Your point about data and privacy is SO IMPORTANT. Where I work, in post-secondary, the province of Nova Scotia, we are not allowed to use any software services that store/share or access personal data outside of Canada unless specific exemptions are in place. (Governed by FOIPOP here) We also have some strict guidelines around the kind of information collected. Interestingly, we do not approve the use of some (popular) apps. like powtoons, quizlet, kahoot, to name a few, due to privacy and/or copyright concerns. With that said…Using advanced data gathering, and analysis poses ever GREATER risks to our personal data. I think, ideally, with machine learning, there wouldn’t be extra 3rd party or vendors with access to student/user data…however the data would likely be available to system to admins. within each school or corporation. So this is a definitely a risk we overlooked in or analysis! Thank you for the insight! And yes, can’t agree more, in current LMS’ there are other, more basic functionalities and even UX I would like to see happen before more adaptive solutions. Personally, I think short-term and mid-term adaptive tech will (continue) to be dominated by stand-alone solutions like apps. An interesting point about student’s with disabilities and adaptive technologies not being inclusive. We actually did discuss having a page about “inclusion” with ALT but I think we concluded that the theory overlapped with personalization, individualization and adaptive processes. It’s a very good point though. From some of the studies and websites I read, adaptive solutions tend to be somewhat underwhelming in general right now and my sense is that much of their potential has barely been realized.
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      1. luke pereira
        Thanks Sally! yay the link works now 🙂 I agree with the privacy restrictions and even apps like Zoom, pre-covid, the university where i work was hesitant to even recommend it, due the lax privacy issues it had. However, they seem to have fixed those as more adoption took over. With regards to disabilities and ALT, I agree that more research and time needs to be done to look at potential solutions to make sure bias or segregation does not come into play. Thanks!
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  7. michael orlandi
    Hello, week 10 team. Great job on your OER. I found the layout very easy to navigate, and the content was to the point. Does a ‘system controlled’ pathway reduce a student’s ability to take charge of his/her/their learning (learner autonomy), or does it reinforce it by giving students the tools they may not realize they need to be successful? I believe your statement “the answer is mixed” at the top of the page applies to this question as well. I think it should go case by case, in terms of which is better (learner controlled vs. system controlled). Age, motivation, subject matter, and available technology are a few factors in determining which is better. The idea of a system controlled pathway reducing a student’s ability, or “holding them back” is such a saddening thought. As you mentioned on the page, a system the gives advice or allows the option of ignoring it seems like easiest way around this issue of system controlled holding students back. Sounds weird to say, but system controlled seems like it can be the most beneficial when it has elements of learner controlled. That is, it still follows a specific pathway which gives students tools the need, but the flexibility keeps students motivated and a sense of control.
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    1. Lyon Tsang
      Definitely agree, Michael — if anything, the tech should be fluid and adjust accordingly in response to student progress. This is why the matter of intervention is so interesting in adaptive learning. We mentioned that there are different levels of human and machine intervention that can take place, so maybe it would make more sense to focus on empowering a human gatekeeper (the teacher!) while the tech continues to be developed…
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  8. Joyce Lo
    Hi Tiffany, Lyon, and Sally, Nice work in creating the OER. I enjoyed reading about Adaptive Learning Technologies and then taking time to think about the questions you have posted in the “Something to Ponder” sections. Your OER was clear and easy to follow. MY EXPERIENCE WITH CEREGO: I tried Cerego and it took me some time to get to the course you created. It was a bit confusing navigating the app, but in the end, I was able to find and complete the course. Is it possible to have instructions at the top to guide the learner/user since it is a new app for most people to use? RESPONSE TO QUESTION #3: I think a ‘system controlled’ pathway is designed with the intention to give students the tools they need to be successful. However, it all depends on whether the system is faulty or not. Also, when a student is not ready to use ALT and/or the activities are not personalized, it may lead to frustration and decrease in motivation. It is better to have a ‘learner controlled’ system where students can decide whether to follow the recommended pathway or choose their own. For example, in RazKids, students are placed in their own reading levels. The teacher sets up a range of books (2 levels above and 2 below the assigned reading level) that students are allowed to have access to. This provides the students with choice and control of books they want to read. They can read books that are easier, harder, or at their level. At the present in the K-12 education system, I think ALT is best used as a supplemental source to create student success. In order for ALT to be used more, teachers need to have more training and parents need to agree with increased use of digital technology at school.
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Joyce Lo, We’ll definitely look into adding instructions in Cerego. 🙂 I agree with your thinking about flexibility within adaptive systems. Razkids sounds like an adaptive solution that is configured by the teacher, as opposed to dynamically adapting via student input. Still adaptive, and a great example of a simple implementation that is effective. For me, it raises a great point about the nuance (or type) of adaptation with regard to pathways, and that either a teacher (or someday, an intelligent system) can classify a student into a level, and offer them a range of choices within that level, rather than just “this” or “that”. This seems to strike a nice balance between system directed and student directed, and perhaps builds enough “play/forgiveness” into systems that are still not quite as advanced as we’d like to see.
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  9. Connie Sim
    Hi Sally, Tiffany and Lyon, Thank you for such an informative OER. I enjoyed the sample lesson on Cerego. Being a fan of experiential learning, working on Cerego was truly an amazing experience. Out of curiosity, I chose some wrong answers to see what happens and I really like how Cerego reminds you at the end of the course to review questions that were incorrectly answered earlier on. Like Josh, I also really appreciated your highlight on the connection between gamification ALT. It would have taken me a while (or not at all) to figure out that connection. I would like to share my thoughts on how I envision ALT might evolve in the future. With learning management systems, I am hoping that there will be a built-in intelligent tutoring system that engages and motivates students to learn, and also integrated learning analytics that will help teachers track students’ diverse needs to improve on the design of learning environments and course content. While harboring high hopes for ALT, my concern lies in teachers’ resistance in adopting ALT in the classroom. I am thinking in terms of workload- instead of being an aid, will ALT increase teachers’ already excessive workload? I came across Linways, an LMS that claims to be “perfect for nurturing adaptive learning”. https://www.edtechupdate.com/adaptive-learning/lms/?open-article-id=14377276&article-title=an-overview-of-adaptive-learning&blog-domain=linways.com&blog-title=linways-technologies What are your thoughts about this platform? Does it fit into the definition of a good adaptive learning LMS?
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Connie, I’m glad you liked experimenting Cerego. 🙂 I really liked how when you revisit the next day, it prompts you to try the questions again, and the the messaging seemed really positive to me, even when I answered some questions incorrectly. (We’ll have to experiment a bit more to know how that might change if we set the goal level higher than “proficiency”.) As Feras mentions below, ALT crosses over a few topics already explored in these OERs, gamification being one of the most recurring correlations. I love the idea of a built-in, intelligent online tutoring system for LMS’. I imagine this could be a layer-on technology for various LMS’ OR built directly into the software. AS for Linway, what an interesting case! Upon reading the description you linked, I don’t see much (new) “adaptive technology” being promoted their system. Linway’s claims seem pretty generic; They claim to 1. “simplify administration”, 2. “be built for teaching and learning”, 3. offer course/curriculum features + analytics, 4. and has a time saving user interface (intuitive design.) Honestly, they throw the word “adaptive” into this description a lot, but I think they’re using it more as a synonym for “flexible” and further all the features described seem pretty standard in most educational LMS’. If the LMS was employing truly new ALT I would expect to see something about how the system gathers and uses student data to create more intuitive/user friendly dashboards for instructors OR to calibrate adjustments for participants. I didn’t see any mention of things like “self reporting confidence levels”, “hints”. “recommendations”, “spaced repetition”, “gamification”, “classification” + “pathways” or content modification…or any buzz words I’ve come to relate to ALT.
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      1. Connie Sim
        Hi Sally, I really appreciate your detailed analysis on Linway. The keywords you shared especially, makes it easier to determine if an LMS does really adapt ALT, or ALT is used merely for marketing purposes to attract potential users.
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  10. Adrian Granchelli
    Hi adaptive learning technology team, Thanks for a great OER. I really enjoyed how conversational the tone was while still delivering in depth content. It made it really easy and fun to follow along. . . . I have been thinking about your question about if current LMS’s will pivot to include ALT or if new players will take over the market. For the past year, my role has been to help and advise faculty in delivering their courses online. I’ve become very well versed in Canvas, their tool integrations, and faculties budget (time and educational assistants time). I’ve seen many frustrations with Canvas as well as the updates. It seems that change is the greatest source of frustrations. Many people use various tool integrations to satisfy their needs such as for comprehensive peer evaluation or hosting media. I know of only one or two faculty in ~60 using the Canvas mastery paths feature, which allows for forced adaptive content based on a score from an assignment/quiz. Mastery Paths are quite confusing to use. . . . ALT I believe is a core component to an LMS. Where Canvas adds parts of it as an extra feature, ALT really falls short. Long term, I think there will be a LMSs hat will replace the current generation, that have ALT as a core structure. In the meantime, I expect ALT integrations to become more popular.
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Adrian, That seems like a reasonable prediction, explained very persuasively. 🙂 I agree with everything you’ve stated about your experience with your LMS but with reference to LMS’ I am familiar with, Moodle and Brightspace. Upon reflection, you’re also right about the adaptive solutions being “add on” in nature; even advanced analytics are an “add on” component for Brightspace, costing more money to implement. So, you’re likely correct, and new LMS’ will have to integrate this advanced technology to disrupt the market and force the dominant LMS’ to adjust/improve. I also wonder if the nature of adaptive technology requires it to be part of the core structure of the programming but I don’t understand the technical aspect enough to know. I would guess, perhaps some adaptive solutions need to be more integrated than others, hence limiting the possibilities for established LMS’ too.
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    2. Lyon Tsang
      Can confirm that mastery paths on Canvas are super confusing to figure out / build! This has really discouraged instructors — and staff — from trying to make better use of the “feature” where I work, if you can even call it that at this point. We’ve mostly just been controlling content visibility through module requirements and pre-reqs but I definitely agree with you Adrian — this sort of thing needs to be built into the LMS more seamlessly so we’re not stuck building static and non-dynamic content…
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  11. Feras Alachek
    Hi ALT team. I want to say that your presentation is seamless and packed with significant studies and ample examples. I enjoyed reading every page and definitely learned a lot through the OER. I was a bit skeptical on the first page as it seemed to me that many topics this course covers overlap and interrelate. Microlearning, self-directed learning, anywhere learning, AI, and now ALT all seem to communicate the same message. Regarding your question about educational games and serious play in the classroom, I do feel that featuring adaptive learning is one of the elemental features of edutainment tools. In other words, analyzing the student’s performance and providing a gaming experience that keeps the player in the motivation loop is pivotal. The game I mentioned on the virtual wall “The Typing of the Dead” is a prime example. Furthermore, it seems that many reading programs, such as https://www.headsprout.com/ consider adaptive technology an essential feature to measure the progress of reading fluency and comprehension and suggest readings accordingly. ALT is student-centred and it lays responsibility on the student to be serious about autonomy and effort. Therefore, we come to the point that certain attributes need to be found in the learner to facilitate effective adaptability. Moreover, I believe that the teacher will never be replaced by machines or course, simply because humans are still better than technology when it comes to inspiring leadership, compassion, and human interaction. Notwithstanding, the roles of the teachers are changing, and it is their task to implement adaptive tools in the classroom to facilitate the learning process and make it more personalized. On a final note, ALT is here to stay simply because it fits the package of future learning. AI is becoming super capable, and I believe that the future of education will be highly customized and personalized, making way for advanced adaptive technology to take place in the classroom and beyond.
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    1. tiffany ku
      Hi Feras, thank you for your feedback! Indeed, it was also quite confusing for us in the beginning of our project planning to even DEFINE adaptive learning, because it seemed that we were just repeating so much of what had been shared over the last few weeks! Thanks for sharing Headsprout with us, I’ve never used it personally but it definitely does seem like there are adaptive and gamified features in the program. I like that they have recommender systems for the sequence of reading suggestions because I have seen many students put off by reading when the content was too advanced for them, and as a result- very little/no learning took place. A feature I am looking forward to is reliable speech to text feedback that will be able to correct pronunciations as it is also a portion of reading and literacy. I find that many current speech to text functions are mediocre and not always accurate. I love the way that you worded “ALT is student-centred and it lays responsibility on the student to be serious about autonomy and effort. Therefore, we come to the point that certain attributes need to be found in the learner to facilitate effective adaptability.” … this is so true! We need to foster attributes that will facilitate effective learning, which will ultimately set learners up for success. What I have found really interesting from our research and through discussions with my group is that adaptiveness can be a one way (either the student OR the machine is making the adaptations), or a two way street (both are making adaptations), and the second option is what really allows for micro adjustments to provide the best learning experience possible. Would you agree?
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      1. Feras Alachek
        I cannot agree more that a two-way street of adaptation allows the learning process to move forward at a faster pace. However, digital literacy is required for that interaction. Unfortunately, Adaptive Learning is not common knowledge yet.
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  12. joseph kwan
    Hi Sally, Tiffany & Lyon, Thank you for preparing this week’s OER – I found it to be fun & educational, and appreciated the sections for learners to ponder/reflect. With regards to adaptive navigation (question 3), I believe that “learner controlled” can be the most beneficial. As mentioned in your OER, everyone learns at a different pace (a quick plug to the “Power of Yet”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLeUvZvuvAs). Student autonomy is important and a personalized education plans can help students find the right level of difficulty & challenge. Students who already know the subject matter well may become bored, while students with cognitive delays may find the same content too challenging in the current moment. The key is to provide a personalized educational plan with appropriate supports and motivation. Although this may seem like a tall order, I believe that technology (which includes ALT) can support learners in their education journey… one student at a time. Thank you, Joseph
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    1. tiffany ku
      Hi Joseph, thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed our OER. I totally agree with you- personalized education is a crucial piece to valuable learning experience and student autonomy is a big piece to the puzzle. The technology may not be ALL there yet in supporting a learner controlled education; there are definitely adaptations integrated on apps and platforms but I believe a lot of its potential has remained untapped. Indeed, the video of “The Power of Yet” you linked is very fitting! Question for you: How have you attempted or seen a “learner controlled” approach in your place of work?
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      1. joseph kwan
        Hi Tiffany, yes, we have tried to provide a more “learner controlled” approach at my workplace. For example, the timeline for training a new student or staff as an Intake Worker is flexible between 2-4 weeks. The Training Manual is also designed to allow certain flexibility for the new student or staff to focus on his/her strengths & interests during the training. While it is not perfect, we do try our best to meet the interests and strengths of the student/staff to the job duties as much as possible. Thanks, Joseph.
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  13. paul johnson
    Question 2: I think there is a lot of potential for adaptive technologies. At their current point of development, they act as more of an automated “choose your own adventure” system. To this end they save teachers time but ultimately, they are the same as handing out worksheets and remove social aspects from learning. Gamifying the technology as it stands at this point may increase motivation for some but adding competition to learning, not surprisingly, demotivates vulnerable learners. In addition to this, the systems, at this point, are locked into certain modalities of learning and use repetition to enhance learning instead of re-contextualizing the content in ways that connect with students. For these reasons I do not see these technologies taking the place of teachers anytime soon. As AI advances and teachers have more control over content, delivery modality, and social integrations these technologies will become more useful and facilitate shifts in the roles of educators. Sally, Tiffany & Lyon, I thought you did a great job putting your OER together. I enjoyed your examples of practical solutions currently available. The section on autonomy was spot on; I found myself nodding in agreement as I read the case study information you provided. Thank you for creating this quality resource.
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    1. Lyon Tsang
      Hi Paul, appreciate the thoughts! I’m with you on the hope / goal that adaptive technologies can help empower instructors, administrators, and students first and foremost. It’s exciting to think about how we can revolutionize this or that, but we as educators / instructional designers / etc. should get equally excited about new ways to simply streamline or improve existing processes. Cerego for example is big on helping students improve their memory, but like you mentioned the principles underlying the platform (repetition is a big one) still assume that every student can find success in the same “pathway”.
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  14. Philip Ihewuokwu
    Hi Sally, Tiffany & Lyon, Thank you for a great OER, it was very informative and I really enjoyed the thought provoking questions. In response to question 2, I do not think adaptive learning systems is the final frontier of gamification. Traditional games are not a form of adaptive learning, because they are generally designed for the player to progress through a series of levels while accomplishing several tasks. The level of difficulty of the tasks in traditional games are no adjusted based on the players ability to complete them on time or with ease. Since gamification has been identified as a way to encourage learners, I think introducing adaptive learning systems is an approach that makes gamification even more attractive for more learners. I think the struggling learner or special needs students will enjoy playing a game that has the level of difficulty of each task customized to their ability to progress. As a way to support teachers who wish to provide a personalized learning experience in the classroom, I think adaptive learning systems would make a good support tool.
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    1. tiffany ku
      Hi Philip, thanks for the feedback! As for your response, I think you did a great job in describing the relationship between adaptive technology and gamification- while many adaptive technologies integrate elements of gamification, gamified learning technologies are not always adaptive. They also have different goals- while one aims to “attract and engage”, the other aims to “personalize and engage”. Both have the potential to motivate. I totally agree with you that adaptive technologies would be very useful in the classroom for busy teachers to accommodate all students with varying needs, as we have started to see that in some classrooms now. With the increasing use of adaptive technologies across different school subjects, I wonder how a typical lesson plan will look differently in the future! Thoughts?
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  15. Menghan Guo
    Thank you, ALT team, for providing such an excellent OER. I like how you utilize adaptable as the focal point for researching the intersection of content and other technologies. It looked into the relationship between gamification and adaptation, for example. This has aided my understanding of AI, gamification, and adaptive systems in general. For question 3, I believe that, as compared to learner control, system control takes away some of the learner’s autonomy, but I do not think this is a negative thing. Not all students are capable of perfect self-organization. This element is similar to our group’s studies on self-directed learning. Learner selected and controlled require learners to have strong self-evaluation and self-cognition abilities. Before employing adaptive technology, I expect that it can assess students’ personality characteristics and other aspects to match them with system-controlled or learner-controlled options. This may be more user-friendly.
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Menghan Guo, I think that would be the ideal, wouldn’t it? To have a system that could “…assess student’s personality characteristics and other aspects to match them with system-controlled or learner-controlled options.” Joyce Lo’s example of RazKids really resonated with me because of how the system gives students a selection of choices within a category. This seems like a solid technique in general, but also may offer a neat solution to the limitations of analytics and machine learning and ALT right now.
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  16. markmpepe
    Great job, team! I really enjoyed going through this OER earlier this week. As I was going through it I was thinking of a student who is struggling and how it would work, and then I got to the Student Autonomy section. Some students would have to do this work under some sort of observation. It was mentioned the technology counting clicks and where, well, I had a student who would click a million times all over the screen and hit the spaces as many times as he could. It was a constant intervention to have this student remain on task. Gamification is an interesting one which I had experience with this year. I taught French this year so I had my students sign up for Duolingo for French as a supplement to what we’re doing in class. This was geared towards the few kids who finished their work quickly, and those who just wanted more practice. A few students were really engaged with Duolingo especially with he XP leaderboard feature. They were able to get ahead, and with one of our units they knew most of the “puzzle pieces” of content for that unit. This gave them confidence, motivation, autonomy, and they were able to retain that information from Duolingo and use it in our class. Thanks! – Mark
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    1. tiffany ku
      Hi Mark, thanks for your feedback. A very good point you brought up here- not all students would be able to take on the responsibility of autonomy and stay committed. So how can we foster this skill in students? I use Duolingo as well to brush up on my own French and I have to say I was quite committed to the streaks and levelling up! However this is fuelled by my goal to speak fluent conversations so it is not necessarily a “just for fun” thing. I am curious about the extent that you use Duolingo in your teaching practice- is it for homework, for review, for pop quiz, or for teaching new content?
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      1. markmpepe
        Hi Tiffany, you’re welcome. I used Duolingo for the students who would finish their work before class is done. For example, if they submitted their assignment and there was 5 minutes left in class, they would use that time playing around with Duolingo. I also used it as a way to let inform my students about those types of platforms for learning. It was fairly successful.
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  17. adriana silvestre
    Thank you for the great OER! To answer your question in terms of LMS. I feel that current LMS like Canvas and D2L are not user friendly for teachers to create courses or students to follow. In my opining they are creating in what we would call a teacher-centred learning. I believe that the possibility of NEW LMS that use ALT will disrupt the market. If we were to have systems like NOOM for education, I am sure both educators and learners would prefer it over D2L or canvas.
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    1. SallyB
      Hi Adriana, Thanks for the comment! 🙂 Couldn’t agree more! I actually started on the other side of this discussion, thinking our current LMS’ are more likely to to layer on better adaptive solutions, but as I’ve read and considered the posts this week, I am more inclined to believe that new LMS offering something considerably different is a likely outcome too. I think it may start as something we don’t even realize will become an LMS, like a mobile/micro-learning solution on the cutting edge of tech that expands into that market.
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