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Thank you to everyone who sent links, articles, and account log-ins to my post 5 Questions About Adaptive Learning Platforms.

I highly recommend that you read the paper “Learning to Adapt: A Case for Accelerating Adaptive Learning in Higher Education”, from Education Growth Advisors.

I am just starting to get my head around adaptive learning.  

Over the next few months I plan to dive into this area, spending time with platforms, vendors, customers, and analysts.  If you have something to teach me about adaptive learning please keep reaching out.

We are in early days around adaptive learning platforms.  The time to start our discussions has come.

Where I am starting this investigation on adaptive learning is with the following intuitions:

Intuition 1: Adaptive Learning Platforms Will Prove to Be the Most Significant Learning Advance Over the Next Decade:

Looking back on the edtech landscape in 2025 we will remember the last 12 years as a story dominated by the growth of adaptive learning and the associated analytics that these platforms make possible. MOOCs will be an interesting blip, but not the real story.   

Mobile learning, and the rapid growth of postsecondary students in the emerging economies will be important trends, but these developments will also have an important adaptive learning component. Most adaptive learning will take place on mobile devices, and very quickly most of this mobile adaptive learning will take place in emerging economies.

Intuition 2: Adaptive Learning and Analytics Are Inseperable and Mutually Reinforcing Trends:

The real story of adaptive learning platforms are data.  

The data enables the systems to dynamically offer new learning pathways and different content types to students.  

The data that enables instructors to personalize their approach to working with individual learners.  

The data that feeds an individual learner profile, one that will help learners and educators individualize instructional plans.  

The data will be aggregated across students to improve how we design our learning environments.

Intuition 3: Adaptive Learning Platforms Will Be Important Across the Postsecondary Ecosystem, At Every Level of Institution:

The current talk about adaptive learning platforms seems to be about remedial education and the goal of increased retention.

Very quickly I predict that adaptive learning platforms will migrate across different strata of postsecondary education, showing up as key educational tools in highly selective as well as open access institutions.

Within 5 years adaptive learning platforms will be embedded in gateway courses across the higher ed spectrum.  

This diffusion of adaptive learning platforms will be the result of two factors:  

1)  It will become increasingly clear that outcomes for students that combine traditional instructor led approaches with adaptive learning platforms will be superior.

2)  Adaptive learning platforms will become more flexible and better able to integrate faculty created material with publisher and community created curriculum.

Intuition 4:  Adaptive Learning Platforms and Learning Management Systems Will Merge:

By 2020 the divide between the LMS and and the adaptive learning platform will have largely broken down.  These platforms (cloud based) will be owned by the same vendors, and the student experience within the LMS and the adaptive learning environment will be seamless.

At the point where these two edtech world’s merge we will see a true acceleration of the adoption of adaptive learning platforms.

Every course, every instructor, and every student will be able to choose for themselves when and how to pull in adaptive learning components.   They will be ubiquitous and seamless.

Intuition 5:  Adaptive Learning Platforms Will Spur New Investments, Startups, and Acquisitions in the Technology and Publishing Space:

We can look forward to some serious investment, acquisition and startup activity within the adaptive learning space.   The dollars that will flow into this sector will make today’s investment levels seem positively quaint.  

The real story of adaptive learning platform investment will be the international story, the emerging economy story.  Any assumption that the biggest adaptive learning, and eventually e-learning, companies will be based in the U.S. (or elsewhere in the legacy economies of the already rich world) may be mistaken.

Where are my intuitions on adaptive learning absolutely wrong or spot on?

What are your intuitions about the future of adaptive learning platforms in postsecondary education?

How can we test these hypotheses on adaptive learning platforms with some evidence?

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