The future of classroom learning is here…
How do professors approach both learning and working with new software? Do they dive right in and begin training hands on? Does the technology help or hinder the students’ ability to learn? These are just a couple of questions tackled in John K. Waters’ article titled The Great Adaptive Learning Experiment.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Arizona State University’s Dale Johnson conducted research on technology based adaptive learning within Arizona State’s teaching department. This involved teaming up with a tech company known as Knewton, which runs an online math assessment program. The Knewton program in tandem with the teacher’s lesson plans allowed for the development of math skills tailored to the students’ needs. In fact, according to Waters Knewton “provided instructors with real-time reports that allowed them to detect gaps in knowledge, create adaptive study plans for each student and focus lessons around concepts where students need the most help” (Waters 2).
There are benefits seen outside of the classroom as well, particularly on the university’s wallet. During the time this program was in place ASU increased pass rates by 18% and dropped student withdrawals by 47%, for an overall savings of 12 million dollars in what would have been lost tuition. While 12 million is quite an astounding number it’s important to realize that while this program does seem beneficial for the student, the teacher and the university there may have been other factors that helped boost the pass rates and lowered student withdrawals. One cannot assume that these numbers are solely due to the Knewton program and the teachers who designed their lessons around it. With that said due to this project classroom learning may be evolving into a more hybrid classroom learning environment which may or may not prove as beneficial as the Great Adaptive Learning Experiment. Only time will tell.