If you have ever taught a class and found that students are coming into the course with very different skill sets or gaps in their understanding, then you might want to explore Adaptive and Personalized Learning platforms (APLs).

Adaptive and Personalized Learning platforms attempt to address this issue by providing customized learning opportunities to students.  APLs can be both adaptive and personalized. The terms adaptive and personalized are often used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences.

“Adaptive Learning: The application of technological tools that provide students with a customized experience based on their progress and previous accomplishments with the materials, practice activities, and assessments. Students are presented with more, or less, challenging items as they interact with the materials and respond to questions.

Personalized Learning:  Similar to the term adaptive learning, personalized learning has been broadly used to describe a flexible approach to educational activities that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual students. This term is also used to describe learning environments that allow students to create their own paths to achieving learning outcomes. This can include choosing from among multiple types of interactions, activities, modes of delivery (e.g., online, blended, in person; video, audio, text), and even assignments.”

Source: Pendergast, A. (2015, April 13). This is how we do it: Defining personalized, adaptive learning. Acrobatiq. Retrieved from http://acrobatiq.com/this-is-how-we-do-it-understanding-common-terminology-and-how-its-applied-at-acrobatiq/

Most APLs provide instructors and students access to analytical data so that both can see where students are making progress and identify areas where they are not. The data can help the instructor identify areas that are confusing to the student or where the student needs extra reinforcement on an individual rather than a class level.

One way APLs are being used in the classroom is to help students catch up in areas where they are behind or don’t have the basic knowledge needed to succeed in the course. For example, a student coming into a biology course may not have all the science background they need, or maybe you have a returning student who hasn’t taken a math class in while. An APL is designed assess where the student’s gaps are and creates a learning plan that help fill in those gaps without the student having to repeat information they already know.

APLs are also being used as a way to enhance teaching of the course content itself. Instructors create scaffolded learning sequences that assess where the student does or does not understand the material and the instructor can then design lessons that help the student understand the more troublesome topics.

APL platforms are designed to customize your course content to each student’s learning. APLs are one tool to potentially help instructors “flip” their classroom; that is, students review the content at home and work through the adaptive or personalized learning, which helps them pinpoint areas they have trouble understanding. The instructor can then use the analytics to determine what needs to be addressed in the class lecture time.

You can learn more about APLs at the OSU Adaptive Learning Open House on May 9 & 10. More information about the event is available on this blog.

Here are a few sources to help familiarize you with APLs:

Culatta, R. (2016, March 21). What are you talking about?! The need for common language around personalized learning. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/3/what-are-you-talking-about-the-need-for-common-language-around-personalized-learning

Feldstein, M. (2016, March 16). Personalized learning vs. adaptive learning. [blog post]. E-Literate. Retrieved from http://mfeldstein.com/personalized-learning-vs-adaptive-learning/

Feldstein, M. & Hill, P. (2016, March 7). Personalized Learning: What is really is and why it matters. Educause Review. Retrieved online at http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/3/personalized-learning-what-it-really-is-and-why-it-really-matters

Personalized learning. EDUCAUSE library. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/topics/teaching-and-learning/personalized-learning

And some videos…..

Bass, R., Wilson, T., Crow, M. M., Alexander, B., Wiley, D., McCarty, S, & Denley, T.  (2016, March 7). How do you define personalized learning [Video file]? Educause. http://er.educause.edu/multimedia/2016/3/video-how-do-you-define-personalized-learning

Hellinger, M. (2012, December 2017). The 5 essentials for personalized learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neOsHOGuKNk&nohtml5=False

LearnLaunch. (2013, February 15). The future of adaptive learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGCidf-0fGM&nohtml5=False

Prince, K., (2104, November 26).  A vision for radically personalized learning [Video file]. TEDxColumbus. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9ZX9ApLLh0&nohtml5=False


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