TUNING IN TO ADAPTIVE LEARNING
by Danielle Greening, GP Strategies
Are you a classical music fan? Perhaps you’re more inclined to a blast of the blues? Or is Rock ‘n' Roll your real niche? At this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m asking you about your preferred music genre. Well, music and learning have a lot in common. Jazz in particular is more in harmony with the L&D world than you would have imagined.
Jazz is a genre full of improvisation, syncopated rhythmic pattern, and most importantly, individuality. It’s a genre where you can let loose with the beat, and create melodies through impulse, not structure.
But how do Jazz and the L&D world come together?
Well, if you had looked at GP Strategies Vice President, Don Duquette’s Top Learning Trends, you would have seen that Adaptive Learning (AL) was one of the top learning techniques that Don felt would flourish in 2017.
This technique is not a new hype. In fact, it has been around since the 1950’s. Fast-forward to 2017, however, and AL has developed in leaps and bounds. So much so that it can now use the technology in our pockets to deliver flexible learning directly to singular users. From videos, documents, quizzes, and games, AL caters to each specific learner depending on their preferred learning styles and abilities. Rather than expecting users to adapt themselves to traditional structured training, AL efficiently adjusts the content to the learner so that they can control their own professional development.
Moreover, just how AL users can mould the pace and intensity of their learning around their personal convenience, Jazz musicians take their own lead to create melodies based on impulse, and not structure and regime.
Jazzing up Adaptive Learning
If we compare both Jazz and AL, we will see a series of similarities. Jazz is a creative process which enables the musician to be spontaneous with their performance. Whilst Classical music abides by a rigid structure, with the musicians looking to the conductor to perform a melody, Jazz musicians aren’t dependent upon such a role, and instead share the lead between them, with each musician improvising their own melody to create a multitude of sounds. Ultimately, music is made, regardless of what compositions have been played separately.
Equally, AL also allows the user to be self-dependant. Instead of following structured learning plan of classroom training or webinars, AL users can decide on what direction they take, what route they go down in order to perform; they control the pace of their learning. Eventually, the user completes their training, though the route they have taken to reach their end goal may have differed from their fellow users.
Take an e-Learning quiz game for example. Depending upon the users answer within the quiz, the learning tool will continuously reinforce points that the user is answering incorrectly until they achieve a 100% pass rate. Likewise, if the user moves through the information quickly with a high degree of confidence in their answers, the learning tool will adapt to the user by making the quiz more of a challenge. This personalised approach to learning makes the content relevant for the user, and keeps the user engaged as they are not repeating elements of the quiz that they already understand.
What’s important to bear in mind with AL is that as an organisation, you need to remain in sync with your audience. AL does not mean give the user complete freedom over their learning. It simply provides you the capability to create a background in which the user can input their own mark on their learning; not take control entirely.
What’s also important to note is that there will always be a role for traditional learning. After all, traditional learning is what provides that initial background. But just like Jazz, AL provides a more innovative approach to learning which makes it less structured, and ultimately, more enjoyable.