The Harvard University strategic initiative HarvardX is running a massive open online course (MOOC) that features adaptive learning and assessment algorithms that tailor course material in response to student performance.
"Adaptive learning functionality, through which a computer system can fit learning experiences to the needs of each student, had not been offered previously in a HarvardX course and is featured in a few courses across the edX online learning platform, reports Brent Marlow, Harvard correspondent. That all changes with the first pilot course "Super-Earths and Life, taught by Harvard's Phillips Professor of Astronomy Dimitar Sasselov. The goal is to gain a preliminary assessment of the technological feasibility and impications of adaptive functionahlit to online courses. "Depending on the results, the technology may expand to other HarvardX MOOCs, says Marlow.
"Adaptive learning programs are very good at speeding up information acquisition and lengthening retention, as well as individualizing learning to help learners see where they have difficulty, says Peter K. Bol, Harvard's vice provost for advances in learning (VPAL) and Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Lan- guages and Civilizations.
"One of the big advantages of learning in the digital space is the ability to get real-time feedback, says Robert A. Lue, HarvardX faculty director and professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology. "Adaptive functionality allows users to optimize learning based on their performance, offering a personalized path to mastery."