Adaptive learning catching on in online education

July 29, 2013

Career Education Corp., a for-profit education services chain in the US, has offered over 300 online course sections using adaptive learning, engaging in one of the largest experiments with the technology in the higher education sector. The company announced this week that it will add even more adaptive learning components to the courses at its institutions with its new “Intellipath” platform. Adaptive learning uses data-driven tools to design coursework that responds to individual students’ abilities, so a course platform can constantly adjust content, giving students extra help with some concepts or skip others they already understand. In an example of the technology’s potential for success, the Career Education-owned American InterContinental University saw a 13.6% decline in student withdrawals in a pilot group taking adaptive-powered English composition and mathematics courses. Some academics are skeptical of the technology, saying that it allows software to replace face-to-face instruction. But officials at Career Education say adaptive learning should be used as a tool for instructors. In the past few years, textbook publishers such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill Ryerson have also launched products that use adaptive learning technology. Inside Higher Ed