Undoubtedly, you have a “feel” for what Differentiated and Personalized Learning are, as these are concepts that have been around for decades. Relatively speaking, there is now a “new kid on the block”! When looking at 2018 educational technology trend predictions, Adaptive Learning is appearing on most lists. So what are the differences between Adaptive Learning, Personalized Learning and Differentiated Learning?
Differentiated Learning (DL)
- Academic goals of all students are the same
- Teacher fits approaches and resources to individuals needs, based on what has worked historically, with similar students.
- Responds to various learning styles
- Different pathways to learning outcomes are provided
- Appropriate levels of challenge are provided to all students
- DL technology can determine a unique pathway that navigates the student, however it does not necessarily adapt the path, as the learner moves forward.
Personalized Learning (PL)
- Student’s interests guide the learning
- Pace is set such that it is unique to the learner
- Academic goals for each student may vary throughout the learning environment
- Relies on students taking ownership of their own learning
- Teacher adopt the role of Guide-on-the-Side
- PL technology will maintain a personal profile for each learner, which facilitates a personalized experience, every step of the way. The program acts as the instructor and tutor. Learning progresses typically in a linear manner.
Adaptive Learning (AL)
- Similar to how Facebook uses analytics to fill our Newsfeeds with cat videos over dog videos, AL responds to the student’s strengths, weaknesses and learning goals, also using analytics.
- Student interests and results drive the analytics, in real-time
- AL technology tailors the pathway to the learners’ objective, such that they spend the most effective and efficient amount of time to demonstrate proficiency
- AL technology takes prior learning into account, differentiates the pace for individuals, and accommodates different curriculum sequences. Learning is not necessarily completed in a linear manner.
- AL technology provides instruction and tutoring support, and interacts with the student throughout the learning process. As students respond with errors, the programs can alter the teaching strategy, in real-time. This, in turn, perpetually keeps learners within their Zones of Proximal Development.
- AL technology can incorporate pre-made resources, user made resources, and all of the affordances that digital learning can provide (gamification, badges, AR, etc.)
Future Prospects for AL
Analysts have labelled AL as “The Next Big Thing” and “The Billion Dollar Bet”, as universities are one-by-one adopting AL learning management systems for certain programs and courses. AL companies, such as Realizeit, are gaining traction, as student satisfaction and success rates gain percentage points. Emerging markets in K – 12 are also becoming ubiquitous, as demonstrated with McGraw Hill’s ALEKS, mathematics-based platform.
As artificial intelligence technology improves, presumably Adaptive Learning will, as well. Further, it will behoove educators and learning changemakers to acknowledge that in this world of Personalized Learning, that not all learners will thrive in this entirely digital platform. Regardless of one’s platform preference, however, Adaptive “Learningfeeds” may be alongside one’s Newsfeed, sooner rather than later!