Higher-​​education admin­is­tra­tors are warming up to adap­tivity, too. In a recent Inside Higher Ed/​Gallup poll, 66 per­cent of col­lege pres­i­dents said they found adaptive-​​learning and testing tech­nolo­gies promising. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion has launched the Adap­tive Learning Market Accel­er­a­tion Pro­gram, which will issue 10$100,000 grants to U.S. col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties to develop adap­tive courses that enroll at least 500 stu­dents over three semes­ters. “In the long term—20 years out—I would expect vir­tu­ally every course to have an adap­tive com­po­nent of some kind,” says Peter Stokes, an expert on dig­ital edu­ca­tion at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. That will be a good thing, he says—an oppor­tu­nity to apply empir­ical study and cog­ni­tive sci­ence to edu­ca­tion in a way that has never been done. In higher edu­ca­tion in par­tic­ular, “very, very, very few instruc­tors have a formal edu­ca­tion in how to teach,” he says. “We do things, and we think they work. But when you start doing sci­en­tific mea­sure­ment, you realize that some of our ways of doing things have no empir­ical basis.”

 

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