Adaptive learning is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices to orchestrate the allocation of human and mediated resources according to the unique needs of each learner. Computers adapt the presentation of educational material according to students' learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions, tasks and experiences. The technology encompasses aspects derived from various fields of study including computer science, education, psychology, and brain science.
The Kirwan Center is currently working on two adaptive learning projects:
- The ALT-Placement Project is piloting the efficacy and feasibility of replacing a high-stakes mathematics placement exam with a process that empowers students to assess and improve their mathematics knowledge and skills using adaptive learning tools. The project’s hypothesis is that these adaptive tools will deliver just-in-time remediation while also providing diagnostics that will be a more reliable measure of students’ knowledge, thus enabling more accurate mathematics course placements that will increase persistence and lower costs. Seven Maryland community colleges and four USM institutions are participating in the pilot, which runs through February 2019.
- The Adaptive Learning in Statistics (ALiS) project is focused on developing, piloting, and scaling a credit-bearing, introductory course in college-level statistics that is built on a sophisticated adaptive learning platform. The goal of the project is to determine whether a flexible learning approach, utilizing standardized learning outcomes, can unify content and improve learning outcomes in gateway mathematics courses without increasing costs, as well as facilitate the transfer of credit between institutions. Five Maryland community colleges and four USM institutions participated in the pilot in 2017-2018, and five institutions are extending the pilot into 2018-2019.