Adaptive learning creates more effective training

The technique is coming into its own for corporate use.

Adaptive learning technology, which produces a personalized training experience, is starting to find its way into the corporate space.

Features of this type of software include artificial intelligence, natural language, analytics and Web-based learning, with the goal of teaching different people the same content in different ways. Proponents claim that individualized teaching helps people retain more knowledge long-term and achieve more mastery over the subject matter compared to more old-fashioned methods including rote memorization.

For example, if an accountant is taking an ethics professional development course at work, he knows what the standard learning objective is: Knowing how to respond if he discovers unethical behavior on his team, explains Angie McAllister, senior vice president of learning analytics and adaptive learning for Pearson Higher Education. The accountant may learn this most effectively by engaging in interactive case studies in an online learning module, but a colleague might master that objective better by interviewing another co-worker or listening to a podcast about ethics reporting in the organization, McAllister says.

"Adaptive learning affords the opportunity for different kinds of learners to master standard objectives in different ways, increasing the likelihood that they will optimize and apply their new learning in real-world work situations," says McAllister.

After all, she says, "application of learning is the ultimate objective of professional development. So, why funnel all learners through a one-size-fits-all learning experience?"

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