EDTC0560 Assignment 6: Adaptive Learning Technologies

As part of  participating in EDTC 0560: Using Technology for Teaching and Training, we developed a group project on Future Trends in Educational Technology. My group chose Adaptive Learning. This is part 1 of my research on Adaptive Learning Technologies.

Where are we at?


“Which will I see first: a PLE, or a unicorn?”

– Greg Ketcham, Director, Academic Programs, SUNY Oswego

  • Big Data
  • Educational Data Mining (EDM)
  • Learning Analytics (LA)
  • Adaptive Learning Platforms

Big Data

All the combined online human created data is called Big Data. Data creation doubles every 1.5 years (Vance, 2015).

Big Data.png

Everything we do online creates data. We create, consume and share data on devices and platforms that is shared with ever increasingly interconnected machines that store, serve, aggregate and share that data.


Educational Data Mining

Educational Data Mining (EDM) is predictive analytics of learner course level progress for faculty and designers. EDM mines student data from online systems to identify student behaviours within a course. Predictive analytics track learner progress with a focus on engagement, retention. Faculty and designers can respond by altering course design and assessments. EDM is commonly used in large scale course delivery and has become a focus for MOOCs.

Learning Analytics

Learning Analytics (LA) gather and analyze details of individual student interactions in online learning activities. Predictive LA has transformative impact on student success.

  • Intelligent gathering of student Big data from systems
  • An educational application of web analytics aimed at learner profiling, a process of gathering and analyzing details of individual student interactions in online learning activities

Application of analytics to enhance or improve student success:

  • The measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs

Predictive, advanced LA student data has transformative impact on student success:

  • Focus on the individual
  • Increases retention, improves course-level performance and decreases time to degree
  • Informs better instructional design

Adaptive Learning Platforms

Adaptive Learning Platforms intelligently gather student data using Learning Analytics and track individual progress to provide adaptive learning and customized learning pathways and experiences. Some platforms provide intelligent tutoring systems and provide gamified learning opportunities. Adaptive courseware and learning objects are available for LMSs.

Commercial, closed, proprietary systems include:

  • Brightspace LeaP
  • DreamBox
  • GradeCraft

Smart Sparrow is a commercial Adaptive Learning Platform. It’s features include:

  • Learning analytics (LA)
  • Adaptive courseware and learning objects (LO)
  • Adaptive, personalized learning pathways
  • An implemented intelligent tutoring system
  • Deployment direct to learners or through an LMS

Part 2: Developing and Emerging Adaptive Technologies


Atkinson, S.P. (2015). Adaptive Learning and Learning Analytics: a new learning design paradigm. Retrieved from: http://i.unisa.edu.au/siteassets/staff/tiu/documents/adaptive-learning-and-learning-analytics—a-new-learning-design-paradigm.pdf

Arroway, P. (2016). Learning Analytics in Higher Education. EDUCAUSE Library. Retrieved from: https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2016/2/ers1504la.pdff

EduTech Update (2015). Adaptive Learning Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.edtechupdate.com/adaptive-learning/examples/technology/

Ferguson, Rebecca; Brasher, Andrew; Clow, Doug; Griffiths, Dai and Drachsler, Hendrik (2016). Learning Analytics: Visions of the Future. Retrieved from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/45312/1/LAK16%20LACE%20panel%20final.pdf

Haythornthwaite, C., Andrews, R., Fransman, J. & Meyers, E.M. (2016). The Sage Handbook of E-learning Research, 2nd edition.


Horizon Report (2017). 2017 Higher Education Edition. Retrieved from: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2017-nmc-horizon-report-he-EN.pdf

Moskal, P, Carter, D. & Johnson, D. (2017). 7 Things You Should Know About Adaptive Learning. https://library.educause.edu/resources/2017/1/7-things-you-should-know-about-adaptive-learning