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Further study is necessary to test the variables in adaptive learning

Arizona State has jumped on adaptive learning to try to combat increasing enrollment and lower funding. Scientific American reports:

Any accurate evaluation of adaptive-learning technology would have to isolate and account for all variables: increases or decreases in a class size; whether the classroom was “flipped” meaning homework was done in class and lectures were delivered via video on the students own time; whether the material was delivered via video, text or game; and so on. Arizona State says 78 percent of students taking the Knewton-ized developmental math course passed, up from 56 percent before. Yet it is always possible that more students are passing not because of technology but because of a change in policy: the university now lets students retake developmental math or stretch it over two semesters without paying tuition twice.

via How Big Data Is Taking Teachers Out of the Lecturing Business: Scientific American.

The article further states that teachers have been doing adaptive learning for years, but in my opinion, it’s never been a question of whether the teacher can do it, but if they do it. It’s really difficult, in a class of 30, to give every student what they need individually.

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