What is Adaptive Learning? — For Professional Learning
Online learning used to mean only one kind of course — the click-through kind, where every learner has the same lesson experience, then they answer the same questions in the same order.
We now know that these types of courses don’t meet the needs of modern learners. Today’s learners are distracted, busy, and constantly interrupted. Only 1% of their workweek is devoted to learning. They don’t have time or energy to learn anything that’s not absolutely necessary. And they expect their experiences to be personalized.
You need a better tool to catch their attention. You need an adaptive learning platform.
What is Adaptive Learning?
Coles Notes’ Definition: Adaptive learning uses an algorithm to personalize the content for each learner.
Traditional courses force learners to consume the same content from start to finish. Adaptive learning algorithms personalize the learning experience. This personalization goes deeper than learner preferences for audio or written content. Instead, it presents the exact information the learner needs to practice at that moment.
Instead of moving linearly through the course, the adaptive platform presents the learner with information based on how they performed during a knowledge check. It knows the right information to give them because it has tagged the content by difficulty.
🔎BenchPrep’s algorithm ranks and sorts content by more than just difficulty. Take a deep dive into our blog post, Adaptive eLearning: Sorting Content for Personalized Learning Pathways.
What does an Adaptive Learning Platform Look Like for Your Learners?
Let’s imagine three different learners take your adaptive learning course. For simplicity’s sake, let’s make them a beginner, an average performer, and an advanced learner.
The course experience starts the same for each of your learners no matter their level. They take a pre-quiz or a diagnostic. This is where the magic occurs. The adaptive platform pushes course content based on your learners’ pre-quiz results. Unlike a traditional course, your advanced learner will not have the same course experience as your beginner learner.
Here is a sample of how each learner experiences the adaptive platform:
The Advanced Learner Scenario
Your advanced learner whizzes through the pre-test and knowledge checks. They’re acing it and feeling great. They’re not wasting their time tuning out videos they already know. Instead, they’re consuming new, interesting content. Then, they’re showing off their new knowledge on the final test. They’re engaged because this course proves they’re at the top of their game.
The Beginner Learner Scenario
A poor result on a pre-quiz often leaves beginner learners feeling defeated and overwhelmed. Luckily, an adaptive platform overcomes this challenge. Your beginner gets a few questions wrong, then moves onto that module. They learn the material, take the quiz again, and ace the knowledge check. Instead of failing the final test, your learner sees their knowledge slowly grow. They start believing they actually know what they’re doing. And, they stop feeling overwhelmed. Instead, they feel confident in their new skills.
The Average Learner Scenario
Your average learner wants to feel like they’re making progress. A pre-test highlights their strengths and weaknesses. Instead of wading through content they already know, the adaptive program hones in on their personal weakness. This laser-focused study allows your learner to see results in minutes. And, they feel like they’re conquering personal challenges every time they log into your course.
Why Busy Professionals Need Adaptive Learning
Adaptive learning helps busy professionals because it increases the speed to mastery.
Many learners increase their speed by skipping content. But what if learners need to see all of the content? Will adaptive platforms still reduce their time to mastery?
Adaptive platforms help beginners by reducing frustration. By working at their just right level, learners’ brains can make connections more quickly. And, that’s where expertise comes from — our brains’ ability to draw on domain-specific knowledge from memory.
Busy learners also benefit from adaptive platforms because they use microlearning strategies. To create an adaptive platform, the content needs to be ranked, tagged, and sorted. Microlearning makes this process easier. For busy learners, this means that they don’t need to find a few hours to take a traditional course. They just need a few minutes to complete a microlearning module.
For test prep companies, adaptive learning also highlights redundant content. You want the best course experience. Redundant content bores learners. Instead, prune that content to give your learners a relevant experience from start to finish.
Also, adaptive learning can be a huge selling feature for business clients. Learning has a dark side for businesses. If you’re paying your employees to learn, then they aren’t doing their jobs. Adaptive learning increases productivity by getting learners back to work faster. Your courses won’t just promise results. They’ll promise results faster than your competitors’ courses.
🔎Find out more about how we create adaptive learning courses in our blog post, Adaptive eLearning: How to Leverage Content For a Personalized Study Plan.
The BenchPrep Approach
At BenchPrep, our mission is to take textbook content and turn it into a personalized learning journey.
We help our clients make this leap stress-free. They don’t have to worry about designing an adaptive study plan — our algorithm takes care of it. In fact, our clients can continue to design courses linearly. The algorithm ranks and sorts it to provide an adaptive learner experience so you don’t have to.
Microlearning provides the foundation for our adaptive learning engine. We tag each piece of content to allow the engine to find exactly what learners need next on their journey to mastery. It also solves a major problem with microlearning. Sometimes small bits of disparate content can leave learners confused. An adaptive platform quickly fills the gaps to give learners a refresher.
Want to learn more about how other organizations have leveraged adaptive learning? Read our ACT case study, “Taking Digital Learning to the Next Level.”