Adaptive learning and personalised learning are two terms that are often used interchangeably by educators. Despite their close relation, they are very different terms.
The WCET Summit in Santa Fe, NM in June 2015 gave out proper definitions for both the terms. Adaptive learning involves technology charting a suitable learning path whereas personalised refers to the path directed by the educator.
Let us take a deeper look at both meanings to see which fares better than the other.
Adaptive learning is a technology-based education model that creates a unique learning course or pattern based on the learner’s needs and skills. It is tailor-made for the learner where computer algorithms work to deliver learning resources and activities.
The adaptive learning approach aims to provide courses that are customised for each and every student to help them engage better instead of going by the ‘one size fits all’ of traditional learning methods.
Adaptive learning offers many benefits to educators and learners. Some of them are listed below:
The software studies a student’s understanding of a topic based on past data about their responses and learning patterns. It also studies it in a present lesson. It then adjusts the next lesson accordingly.
This way, if a learner is slow in grasping concepts, the subsequent lessons are exercised to reinforce the ideas in a simpler way instead of being a new or related topic. All students in a group using adaptive learning for the same material will have different, nonlinear paths.
Personalised learning, also called individualised instruction, is an education method where the educator is free to alter the learning path of a student based on their skills and needs.
The educator may resort to technology to map out the best path for their students, but the method doesn’t rely on the technology itself to create the learning path. One-on-one tutoring is the most common example of personalised learning.
Personalising the learning experience for every student may feel daunting or exhausting, but it has far-reaching benefits in the long run. Key advantages of personalised learning are:
Personalised learning absorbs adaptive learning into it. An educator using a personalised learning approach can very well use technology to study the students’ learning patterns to formulate the best path forward for them.
Adaptive learning focuses on an individual’s growth. Whereas personalised learning is a continuous process that continues to adapt to new methodologies and technologies. Most importantly, it adapts to the learner’s growth to create the best path forward.
Adaptive learning and personalised learning are two related but different methodologies to teach students. Adaptive learning relies on technology to study a learner and create the most optimum learning path for them.
Personalised learning relies on an educator using whatever means necessary to create the best learning path for their students. Personalised learning uses adaptive learning to teach students and is a continuous process that is constantly evolving.