A great challenge confronting university educators, especially instructors teaching large 100- and 200-level general education courses, lies in understanding what individual students already know and what they need to learn, then modifying instruction to meet those diverse needs effectively and efficiently. Adaptive courseware collects student data through assessment, analyzes that data and uses it to offer personalized learning paths to each student or reports and recommendations to instructors to help personalize the learning experience. Through adaptive courseware, instructors are able to collect, access and utilize the data they need to deliver quality learning experiences to individual students at scale.
To be effective, adaptive courseware must include dynamic and creative embedded assessments to scaffold and prove learner mastery of content in course- and program-specific contexts. Equally crucial is the role that instructors and pedagogical experts play in the design of instructional and assessment strategies for adaptive learning environments. The availability of adaptive courseware products that are usable, affordable and effective to instructors equipped to adopt new products and course strategies has the potential to improve outcomes for hundreds of thousands of postsecondary students. Because of the opportunity that adaptive courseware presents to transform high-enrollment course experiences through personalized learning, the PLC has selected adaptive courseware as a focus area for its programmatic and grant-based activities.
The first project that the PLC launched sought to educate faculty about recent innovations in adaptive learning technologies and to support cross-institution faculty collaboration in the development of adaptive learning modules for use in English composition instruction. We partnered with faculty from with Georgia State University, Montclair State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Mississippi to build an introductory-level English Composition course using the Smart AuthorTM platform from Acrobatiq. To learn more about the objectives, process and outcomes from this project, access our report.
In 2016, the PLC announced an institution-focused grant program for Accelerating Adoption of Adaptive Courseware at Public Universities, our second project related to advancing adaptive courseware use. Our goal in this project is is to increase significantly the number of universities deploying high quality adaptive courseware in high-enrollment general education courses. We seek to achieve that goal by supporting networks of faculty to work together across institutions to share their experiences selecting quality courseware products, implementing those products and evaluating the impacts on student outcomes. To learn more about the program, click here.