Academics and Academia

In a 2016 post on “Personalized Learning vs. Adaptive Learning”, Michael contrasted the former as a set of technology-enabled teaching practices with the latter as a project label [emphasis added].

On the other hand, adaptive learning is a label that applies to products. Further, adaptive learning products can support all of the practice areas of personalized learning. They enable teachers to move content broadcast outside of class time, they make homework time into contact time through analytics, and they provide some tutoring function. “Adaptive” tends to provoke a lot of discussion around the latter of the three practice areas. See the piece I wrote for the American Federation of Teachers if you want a primer on the strengths and limitations of adaptive learning products as tutors. But as often as not the first two capabilities, neither of which is dependent on adaptive algorithms, are the ones that enable the biggest gains in personalized learning teaching practices. “Courseware” is a set of products that, when designed well and used properly, can enable faculty to move content broadcast out of the classroom and make homework time content time. Adaptive courseware adds the tutoring element while also, if done well, increasing the value of that homework contact time by providing better feedback through more targeted analytics.

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