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learning by creating a personalized learning team to help instructors build courses, allowing faculty to remain focused on their areas of expertise, adds Cavanagh. Purchasing is the answer for many universities. Vendors such as Fulcrum Labs, Smart Sparrow and Cengage supply programs users can modify. "You need the toolkits so you can author courses that are sophisticated, and that you can get into and modify," Arizona State's Anbar says. Challenge 5: Dealing with extensive data Adaptive learning offers data every day about all students: when they logged in, how long they were on, what they did, what they repeated, and more. It is up to the instructors to find the data points they value most. NC State's Thomas Stokes, a graduate student instructor, participated in adaptive learning psychology program research before actually teaching the class. He decided in advance what data would be most meaningful to him before he looked at the vendor's variables. "I could name 10 or 12 variables and found the closest matches in the vendor's data. You get a slew of information, but you have to be smart with what you do with it." Providers' systems will display quantitative information visually on a dashboard. "Adaptive learning generates thousands of data points," says Arizona State's Regier. "Those can be used to improve the system itself, and also to improve the performance of the student, not just in that class, but across classes. The system knows the problems the student had in the first year." Challenge 6: Understanding that adaptive learning isn't a magic bullet Adaptive learning requires some assistance and guidance from instructors, although a program can go a long way in walking students through basic concepts on its own. Another reality to note: Some aspects of learning will never be measured with any algorithm. www.universitybusiness.com Tom Evans, program manager for open learning at The Ohio State University, counsels faculty and helps them figure out how they want to present course material. For, instance, how effective will adaptive learning be in subjects that are more qualitative in nature, such as humanities courses? Learning should not be retrofitted to fit technology, says Evans, but available technology should be evaluated for how it can enhance learning. Arizona State's Anbar participates in online messages boards where students provide honest feedback about how well adap- tive learning is working. Learning via these courses is available to more students than ever before, drawing them into the material in new ways. "This technology allows you to amplify teaching, but you still need to be there, physically and metaphorically in terms of the content," Anbar says. "Adaptive learning makes your reach bigger. Adaptive learning enhances the ability of people to interact in direct and indirect ways." Barb Freda is a North Carolina-based writer. Provider perspective: What is the biggest roadblock to wider, quicker adoption of adaptive learning in higher education? "Lack of awareness. Most instructors don't know exactly what adaptive learning is or how they can take advantage of it-the term is often tossed around without enough context. Institutions can help drive awareness and adoption of adaptive learning technology with programs to educate faculty, incentivize taking action and support campus innovators " -Dror Ben-Naim, CEO, SmartSparrow "Adaptive programs change the way instructors teach. These programs allow students to demonstrate mastery and answer questions so an instructor can diagnose weaknesses as they go, and adjust the syllabus accordingly. [They] have to trust the technology and the data derived from it. The biggest barrier is getting instructors to have a level of comfort with using this technology as part of their practice and instructional style." -Jason Jordan, vice president for higher education markets, Knewton "The availability of credible, longitudinal efficacy and outcome research studies. Adaptive learning has, unfortunately, turned into a buzzword, which only fuels its obscurity and true meaning. This, coupled with some vendors overstating its claims, both alienate and create a general distrust with faculty and business administrators wanting to adopt adaptive learning." -Patrick Weir, CEO, Fulcrum Labs "We have to help everyone better understand how to use adaptive learning and how to leverage it: how to implement it and apply it in the right way so students and instructors get what they want out of their courses. The question we should be answering is, How do we get more students and instructors to use the digital products available to them to improve their experiences? Adaptive learning should be one of the tools to help us do that." -Erin Joiner, senior vice president and manager for social sciences, humanities, and business, Cengage September 2016 | 41 http://www.universitybusiness.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business September 2016

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