Adaptive learning is one of those modern eLearning trends that has managed to go mainstream. The digital learning approach managed to do that due to our fascination with algorithms, big data and machine learning, and their potential in our future. Adaptive learning is an amazingly useful learning approach due to a number of reasons, including its ability to reduce the time spent by learners in irrelevant training as well as its ability to help learners work their pain points or areas of weakness by identifying knowledge gaps and addressing them with appropriate learning opportunities. But unlike corporate organizations might think, adaptive learning is not something that you just implement, but rather it has actually 3 degrees or levels of implementation. Each level might be appropriate or not so for individual organizations, which is why each organizations must understand what each degree encapsulates, and the implement on of these degrees of adaptive learning depending upon their needs as well as the resources available to them. In this article, we’ll discuss those 3 degrees of adaptive learning.
- First Degree – Faux Adaptive Learning
This degree of adaptive learning is called so because it isn’t actually adaptive learning, but provides similar results. Faux adaptive learning utilizes other digital learning approaches like personalized learning and branching scenarios to provide results similar to an actual adaptive learning program. While personalized learning requires instructional designers to personalize content for every individual learner using learning paths based on their needs, preferences, skills and interests, branching scenarios rely on learners to make choices as they progress through the eLearning course, and either going back to the start of course after making a wrong choice (simple scenarios) or reaching unique outcomes based on their choices (complex branching scenarios). Either way scenarios provide a safe, virtual environment for learners to practise their skills. Either of these approaches doesn’t require complex technologies or a number of resources, but requires effort and expertise from the eLearning designers.
- Second Degree – True Adaptive Learning
True adaptive learning require robust data analytics and a program that can read data supplied by learners. An adaptive learning program adjusts the eLearning content delivered to each learner according to their performance in initial stages of the eLearning course, as well as their self-made choice of learning objectives. It allows learners to choose their learning style as well as the order of learning new skills, and even the digital learning approach they would like to use to learn. Usually, when using a true adaptive learning system, organizations do not implement adaptive learning to all their training modules, and only use it drive home specific, important training initiatives like product training, sales training or the introduction of a new business process. A true adaptive learning program requires the collection of a lot of data from on every individual employee/learner working in the organization.
- Third Degree – Adaptive Learning Ecosystem
This is the ultimate degree in adaptive learning. The implementation of an adaptive learning ecosystem means that each and every learning and development or training activity that occurs in the organization is based upon adaptive learning. An adaptive learning ecosystem is fed every bit of performance and demographic data available on every employee in the organization, and requires either expert ML developers to build it from scratch, or to layer it on top of an LMS (learning management system) or LXP (learning experience platform). The L&D team of an organization implementing an adaptive learning ecosystem need to sift through a mountain of learning and training material to determine what would work best for which type of learner, and create a multitudinous amount of learning paths to be supplied to the learners. However, with proper planning and analysis it can be done. An adaptive learning ecosystem is only recommended for organization that have had years of experience in running an adaptive learning program in their organization and now wish to upgrade to the highest degree.
Adaptive learning is a peek in the future of learning. Each degree is based upon how much an organization knows about adaptive learning. Those organization which have heard about adaptive learning, and after thorough research, found it suitable to their learning needs should start with the first degree, or if they feel confident that they have the budget, expertise and resources, start with the second degree right from the start. The third degree, as mentioned before, is supposed to be implemented only after organizations have using either faux adaptive learning or true adaptive learning for years at a stretch.