Updated on May 29th, 2019
Adaptive (content), Adaptive (assessment), Adaptive (sequence). This inhale-exhale exercise also doubles as a learning content creation technique. A guest post on the Blackboard blog details the elements that make for great adaptive approaches in educational design. Not only do they make for more flexible experiences, they help optimize the work of adaptive systems and services for Moodle and other LMS.
Evidence in favor of technology-based approaches that take personal variables, especially skill levels into account, keeps growing. With the help of tools such as IADLearning’s, students are set on a learning track that responds to their performance and interests in real time. These tools make sure students find content that’s challenging and interesting, seemingly the ideal combination for best (and fastest) performance according to research.
While most adaptive systems make the best possible use out of existing educational repositories, there are best case scenarios for content in the three main development areas. These ideas work even without adaptive technology, as long as students can make their own learning paths in online or face-to-face offerings.
Adaptive Content: Make it path-independent. While topics are often aligned on a path of increasing difficulty, students might find themselves interested in an item that is supposedly out of his level of skill. Usually, the only way to ensure a valuable educational experience is by going through the existing path. But this does not conflict with a welcoming tone at each level. Advanced materials can include short introductions intended to a general audience, with some context on the topics the student is recommended to be familiar with.
Adaptive Assessment: Make it skill-responsive. An ideal, engaging assessment system should be quick to recognize the areas where a student excels, as well as those that show the biggest struggle, and prioritize accordingly. To ensure this dynamic, Assessment questions and tasks can include fields that signal level of difficulty, as well as the relevant Competencies put to test. This way, a high mark on a given task would mean the next task will be more difficult, or vice versa. Basic but clear illustrations of this practice in Moodle are freely available with the Adaptive Quiz plugin or the Domoscios plugin (made by the creators of Duolingo).
Adaptive Sequence: Make it all-encompassing. One of the benefits of Competencies and Competency Frameworks is that they provide overarching threads across subjects. Disciplines that would seem to share nothing in common could simultaneously end up in a student’s path. Learning programs and experiences, especially in formative stages, would do well by allowing, if not embracing, this. Existing technologies, machine learning in particular, can serve a key role by identifying deeper links across large sets of knowledge and skills. Over time, technology could offer engaging learning experiences that provide broad skills and innovative perspectives for students.
So next time you are about to create awesome new content for Moodle, stop for a second, focus on your breath and go: Adaptive, Adaptive, Adaptive…