Initiatives: Adaptive Learning

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.

Most recently, the Kirwan Center sponsored a 1-day virtual conference to explore adaptive tools, entitled, Adaptive Tools for High-enrollment Online Courses: Improving the COVID-19 Learning Experience for Students and Faculty. This convening introduced participants to the ins and outs of adaptive courseware. Sessions included lessons learned from faculty users, vendor demos, “birds of a feather” break-outs by discipline and role, and a closing plenary focused on pedagogical uses of adaptive courseware. 

Our Work in Adaptive Learning

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June 26, 2020

Faculty, instructional designers, and teaching and learning center staff are invited to Adaptive Tools for High-enrollment Online Courses: Improving the COVID-19 Learning Experience for Students and Faculty, hosted by the USM Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). This day-long summit will introduce participants to the ins and outs of adaptive courseware.

November 15, 2017

The Kirwan Center is seeking institutional partners from across Maryland to participate in a Kresge Foundation funded project starting in Spring 2018 that will pilot the efficacy and feasibility of replacing the high-stakes mathematics placement exam process currently in use with a process that empowers students to assess and remediate their mathematics knowledge using adaptive learning tools instead. Our hypothesis is that these adaptive tools will deliver just-in-time skills remediation while also providing better 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.

November 5, 2017

ALT-Placement Project: Investigating Adaptive Learning Tools for Mathematics Remediation and Placement

Among the many obstacles college students face in their pursuit of higher education is the discovery that they are insufficiently prepared for a college-level curriculum and must enroll in remedial courses to make up deficits in their knowledge and skills. This detour from college-level courses is expensive in both time and money, and it often means the end of the college road for these students, particularly for those deficient in mathematics. According to a U.S. Department of Education study (NCES, 2013), only 27 percent of all students enrolled in developmental math will complete their degrees.