Adaptive learning means using technology to adjust the content and difficulty of a learning experience based on the learner’s progress and performance. The goal is to provide a more personalised and effective learning experience, as it adjusts to the unique needs, abilities, and goals of each learner.

Adaptive learning platforms typically involve algorithms that analyse the learner’s progress and performance, and then adjust the content and difficulty of the learning experience accordingly. For example, if a learner is struggling with a particular concept, the adaptive learning platform may provide additional resources or support to help them better understand the material. On the other hand, if a learner is excelling in a certain subject, the platform may present more challenging material to keep them engaged and motivated.

Early attempts included ‘programmed learning’ books that ask the reader to skip sections if they pass a quiz.

Adaptive learning can be applied to a wide range of learning contexts, including online courses and classroom-based instruction. It can also be used in conjunction with various learning modalities, such as video lectures, readings, quizzes, and hands-on activities.

One of the main benefits of adaptive learning is that it allows learners to progress at their own pace and according to their own needs and abilities. This can help both slow and fast learners, who would otherwise be trapped into the ‘average’ speed of the cohort.

A benefit of adaptive learning is that it can help reduce frustration and boredom for learners, as it presents material that is tailored to their specific needs and abilities. This can lead to higher levels of engagement and motivation, which can in turn lead to better learning outcomes.

Adaptive learning can also be beneficial for instructors, as it can allow them to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their learners and adjust their teaching approach accordingly. It can also help instructors to more effectively assess the progress of their learners, as the adaptive learning platform can provide detailed data and analytics on each learner’s performance.

One challenge is that implementing adaptive learning can be costly, as it typically requires the use of specialized software and technology. And adaptive learning may not be suitable for all learners or learning contexts, as it relies on the use of algorithms and data to adjust the learning experience, which may not always accurately reflect the needs and abilities of all learners. Finally, adaptive learning may not always be feasible in situations where there is a lack of reliable internet connectivity or access to technology.

Adaptive learning represents a promising and innovative approach to education that has the potential to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning experiences. While there are certainly challenges and limitations to consider, the use of adaptive learning can provide a more personalized, engaging, and effective learning experience for learners of all ages and abilities.