You use regular quizzes for both formative and summative assessment, but some students are still failing to grasp the content or Foundational Concept!

You know you have the content to provide personalisation via student choice, but aren’t sure how students can indicate their personalised choice automatically!

The application of Adaptive learning strategies and tools can assist.  Application of Adaptive Learning can be as simple or complex as required.  In this blog, we’ll concentrate on the basics of applying adaptive learning strategies at the Learning experience, module or component levels. This can be achieved using available tools within our Griffith University VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), in particular ‘adaptive release’ in [email protected].

Why adaptive learning is good for you and your cohort

Adaptive learning customises what each learner will be assigned, based on that learner’s needs and performance as determined by the ‘rules’ and conditions you apply to your design.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Customisation of student instruction at scale
  • Can save you marking, consultation and feedback time
  • Provides repeatable or varied ways of meaning – making eg. 1 (one) Foundation concept – multiple contexts
  • Allows students to learn at their own pace in their own context
  • Allows for personalised pathways and enhanced agency/student choice

Some example application strategies include:

  • Adaptive content: Here adaptive release conditions are applied to provide additional content specific to the learner, and informed by quantified progress (tracked learning experiences for example: self-assessments, knowledge checks, feedback, final quizzes, etc.).
  • Branched content: Branched content allows the learner to move through a module or course depending on how they respond to the course content. This application allows students with incorrect answers to be automatically provided additional content and examples while allowing students who have conquered a concept or learning task to progress to new (more complex) content strata without backtracking.
  • Microlearning: Based on the delivery of bite-sized chunks of learning, Microlearning is extremely suitable to the application of adaptive learning as content is typically ‘short’ in length (eg. videos) and can be easily deployed interspersed with quick ‘knowledge check’ quizzes as an example. You might consider incorporating multiple pieces of content into a modular formats to accommodate strata as well. For example, basic modules may apply adaptive release to accommodate repetition and checking while advanced learners may progress to higher level content modules with knowledge retention as the emphasis.

A Design Process

Define your problem, hurdle or concept

Often the best place to start with Adaptive learning is to identify a ‘point of pain’ or learning hurdle you find your students struggle with.  This is often articulated via Student feedback, review of marks around a particular assessment or similar.  If based on assessment, you may consider a ‘root-cause’ analysis to help you determine which foundational concept or area of learning are most prominently blocking student progression and success.  Through this, you may find students simply need further resources or examples to fully comprehend concepts and foundational knowledges.

Curate and/or Create your Learning Content

So, you’ve defined your issue, now it is time to gather or reconfigure your content to provide a suitable strata of support materials or examples.  If you are new to adaptive learning, you may opt to try out the effectiveness of Adaptive Learning by concentrating on one quiz and providing adaptive feedback based on the result as a way to start your own Adaptive Design journey.

Applying the rules and conditions of release and adaptivity

Adaptive pathways are enacted via the rules and criteria you create as part of your Learning
experience.  These rules control how content is released and in [email protected], the Adaptive Release and Advanced Adaptive Release Tool Rules / Criteria are based around:

  • Availability
  • Date and time
  • Individual usernames
  • Mark Criteria
  • Membership in course groups

Consideration – Be careful not to set conflicting conditions within a learning module. Consider the order of items in the learning module before you set other availability conditions based on date and performance.

Incorporating other VLE tools and content into Adaptive Sequences

Adaptive Release rules and conditions can also be applied to other elements of the VLE  and Course items and tools incorporated within your Course.

For example:

  • you may add a VoiceThread experience or Discussion Forum as a choice in your sequence so Students might further discuss Course content
  • You may add YouTube or Echo360 videos into your sequence to further consolidate learning

Designing your Adaptive Learning Sequence – If this, then that!

The idea of an ‘adaptive’ experience design is to provide a structure of deliberate strata (adaptive learning) or choice (personalised learning).  A very good way to think about Adaptive sequencing is to adopt this programming command “If this, then that”.  Mapping your experience (using Adaptive pathways or Decision Tree modelling) will allow you to visualise the appropriate structure and content/assessment tools to deploy.

There are some useful design templates and examples available here.

Building your Adaptive Experience

Check out the ‘Adaptive Release and Advanced Adaptive Release’ Guides on Using [email protected] (for Staff) site to find step by step guidance.

Want to go Deeper?

If you have a more complex concept or interested in a more comprehensive module or learning experience, you might also consider Smart Sparrow.  Smart Sparrow is a 3rd party technology approved for use at Griffith University and provides a higher level of adaptivity and visual design. To learn more about Smart Sparrow visit the Griffith University site here, and check out this LF Press post to get started.