Buying Our Way into Bondage: The Risks of Adaptive Learning Services

David Wiley, BC Campus, Mar 28, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I've never been big on adaptive learning systems because they resemble too much to me the old programmed learning texts that were essentially a series of branches and pages. David Wiley in this post offers another reason to be wary. While such system s, as he notes, can scale well, and while they push the cost of e-learning content to zero, "an adaptive learning service is something you subscribe to, like Netflix. And just like with Netflix, the day you stop paying for the service is the day you lose access to the service." Clearly this is a concern if ongoing access to resources is an issue. "When you subscribe to content through a digital service (like an adaptive learning service), the publisher achieves complete and perfect control over you and your use of their content." I agree with Wiley's concerns. Related: Wendy Wickham, One Tool to Rule Them All, facing this argument: "the content library in the current LMS is too valuable to fully replace the LMS."

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