by Stephen Downes
Nov 02, 2015
Philip J. Kerr,
Adaptive Learning in ELT,
The main takeaway from this summary of a research article is the diagram, but the discussion is worth a read too. Philip J. Kerr summarizes: "Murray and Pérez (15 page PDF) set out, anyway, to explore the hypothesis that adapting instruction to an individual’s learning style results in better learning outcomes. Their study compared adaptive and traditional methods in a university-level digital literacy course. Their conclusion? This study and a few others like it indicate that today’s adaptive learning systems have negligible impact on learning outcomes." What makes this interesting is the comparison between learning styles and adaptive learning. Kerr suggests that since the former hasn't produced anything of note, neither should we expect the latter to. And he points to the still nebulous argument at the end of the article suggesting there's more to learning than outcomes. "They point out that learning outcomes are only one measure of quality. Others, such as student persistence and engagement, they claim, can be positively affected by the employment of adaptive systems." As well, there is "the intuitively appealing case for adaptive learning systems as engines with which institutions can increase access and reduce costs."
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