Gamification stuff we love: adaptive learning
It’s about 3 years ago at a learning technologies conference and exhibition that I saw an adaptive learning system developed for use by Google staff, which gave different outcomes based on the decisions you made. When you think about games, you are always operating in the first person with you as the decision maker and you have actions you take, which lead to certain results. In some games when you progress and gain more skills, the challenges thrown at you become harder thanks to nifty background algorithms which come to play.
In eLearning , and in my view in classroom settings also, the course material tends to be linear in set-up and the decisions have been made for you, all you do is at best interact a little bit with the material and at worst you only interact with the forward click button. Still the main preference for rapid production tools is for this linear method, because it is perceived as easier to create. It does involve less thinking time on the part of the subject matter expert and instructional designer, but it forgets the core player in this equation namely the learner.
A recent report about adaptive learning where algorithms provide personalised learning tracks for each learner depending on knowledge indicated, are predicting improved refinement in this technology and the results have been positive. People like Bill Gates have endorsed further scientific research and development in this field, which is encouraging to see.
The starting point is a detailed performance profile of the learner and/or a knowledge assessment to allow for a personalised learning track. If an organisation operates on a competency based model, where depending on the skills level you have displayed in your role to date, combined with your education profile and performance on projects, the organisation can slot this information as a starting point into an adaptive learning model. Then it becomes an interactive instructional design exercise based on expected behaviours when engaging with different content units with knowledge an skills apprehension tests to be incorporated.
Personally I think this is the way forward for learners, where we decide based on our proven knowledge and skills level what next steps we take. I am always in favours of a path carved out by the individual and a bit of assistance along the lines to point out what you don’t know yet or where you could improve, is definitely a positive development when I am on a chosen path of learning. Think about it this way it the Google search function that gives you suggestions as to what is relevant on your learning mission or the Amazon recommendation of buyers of this product also bought…
I had the privilege of listening to a version of this Ted Talk by Donald Clark this June at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum, he talks a lot of great sense and sums up the evolution of learning really well in this Ted Talk and how technology is facilitating development in education:
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What are your views on adaptive learning?