The push to use computerized learning software has increased as Common Core State Standards are implemented across the nation. Even states that opted out of federal guidelines to develop their own state tests realize the inevitable--students will someday test solely on computers. Fight the trend if you must, but it may be a losing battle if funding can be acquired to outfit the nation's schools with low cost tablets and updated networking systems.
At the forefront of research on adaptive learning is Dr. Ulrik Christensen, founder of Area 9, from Denmark. He continues his work of finding an "improved, highly individualized way of learning" that meets 21st century learners' needs. The result of Dr. Christensen's research was LearnSmart, a learning adaptive platform designed to adjust to students' skill levels and learning traits. For students, this means the more they interact with LearnSmart adaptive learning programs, the better the programs become at understanding their learning styles and meeting their educational needs. For teachers, it aligns to Common Core or state standards with a few key strokes. It breaks down data and takes the guesswork out of assessment. Want to know what concepts students should focus us? Run group or individual data.
There are many software programs with features that individualize learning for students. After students take their diagnostic tests, lessons are customized for them by the program or by the teacher, who sets up lessons aligned with objectives. Reports can be run to determine which skills students need to improve. However, LearnSmart breakdowns include: completion, items missed, metacognitive skills, and more. It recognizes what students need to study, what style of learning is best, and when materials need to be reviewed. An interactive e-book, or Smartbook, asks questions as students read text then directs students to passages for proof. It highlights important materials, which can then be added to digital clipboards, and it helps students focus on what's important within chapters. Best of all, students can access LearnSmart from Android/Ipad/Ipod apps and from PC and MAC; it is open 24/7 and the virtual coach is always there!
21st century learners want individualized tutoring and non-traditional classroom settings, so adaptive learning seems to be the wave of the future.
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