How to implement adaptive learning?

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Dale Johnson, of Arizona State University, shares some tips for implementing adaptive learning and improving the learning experience.

Dale Johnson, manager of the Adaptive General Education Program for EdPlus at Arizona State University (ASU), shared the process the institution is following to make his courses more successful.

Johnson studied architecture at ASU and Public Policy at Harvard. In his current position, he works with faculty and staff to develop and implement adaptive courseware in key introductory courses that aim to improve student success rate.

In a conference organized by the Academic and Educational Innovation Vice-Chancellorship of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Johnson said that ASU is redesigning its programs to implement active learning in class and adaptive learning before class.

He noted that it is very important that teachers have useful and state of the art tools to offer students a more personalized and accurate experience.

"The historical process is that teachers have to wait until the first exam to understand how students are performing. With our system, we have the information early in the course."

In addition, he said that the school is rethinking lectures. "We have moved from huge rooms with passive students to smaller classes with team activities.”

Johnson shared the process that Arizona State University is following to improve its courses:

  • Implement active learning in class with the aim of promoting critical thinking and problem solving.
     
  • Help 90% of students get C or better to make sure they have mastery over a topic.
     
  • Reduce student dropouts in courses below 5% to increase student retention.
     
  • Provide teachers with relevant data to identify struggling students from week 2 and thus improve their insight of the group.

Regarding the advantages of adaptive learning, Johnson points out that it responds to the learning needs of students, while helping teachers monitor students who need assistance and measure the success of the course.