The Promise of Adaptive Learning to Create Equity at Scale

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

A moderated panel of administrators from key institutions across the country will share their stories of transformation. They will explain how they have been able to create equity at scale by blending intelligent adaptive learning systems with new methods of teaching.


Dr. Karen Vignare is a strategic innovator who has been leveraging emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Karen Vignare currently serves as the Executive Director of the Personalized Learning Consortium at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. The PLC’s mission is to support public universities as they rapidly infuse technology that supports improved student learning, retention and graduation. She has a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University in Computer Technology and Education and a M.B.A from the William Simon Business School at University of Rochester.
Peter van Leusen is the Manager of Instructional Design with focus on scalable and adaptive projects for EdPlus, Strategic Design & Development at Arizona State University. Over the past 16 years, he has worked at multiple large research-focus universities in the US with the goals to foster student success and truly have an impact. His recent instructional design projects include collaborating on adaptive curriculum and courseware development, designing MOOCs in a foreign language, and spearheading innovative digital educational experiences for broad audiences. Before joining ASU, Peter worked as the Assistant Director in the Office of Instructional Consulting in the School of Education at Indiana University and previously taught middle and high school German. Peter holds a PhD in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University, Bloomington. His research interests include Faculty Development, Instructional Technology, Instructional Design, and Innovative Teaching & Learning in face-to-face, hybrid, and online formats.
Eric Bing has years of experience with healthcare education, human capital development and capacity building. He leads The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) which is the largest Texas statewide provider of allied health graduates. During his tenure, CHCP has launched online, hybrid, and blended stackable allied health care programs as well as continuously raised outcomes for the campuses with a focus on the graduate’s career placement. In 2015 he spearheaded the development of CHCP’s first innovative “blended-classroom” campus located in McAllen, Texas and has expanded the reimagining of flexible and realistic high outcome education for working adults; especially for those from disadvantaged communities. He has built a traveling nursing and therapy business as well as a company that educated and placed Filipino nurses throughout major US hospital systems. Mr. Bing has worked to increase the healthcare capacity in East Africa. His African endeavors include creating a public/private partnership for vaccine management training, antiretroviral training, and deeper integration with PEPFAR. He has chaired AmeriCorps for Texas along with serving as a Trustee for The Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management, among other community activities. He considers it an honor to be part of a team that is providing aspiring CHCP healthcare professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to help them achieve the healthcare careers of their lives.
Scott Jaschik is editor and one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.
"The most important moment in a student’s educational journey is found at the crossroad where purpose, passion and persistence meet - this is the catalyst for college success.” LaShana Stokes, M.Ed. has not only created this quote, but has helped breathe life into it for students through her faculty role in the first-year experience classroom, as well administrator roles in higher education. Ms. Stokes has over 17 years of demonstrated transformational leadership in student affairs, academic affairs and the college classroom at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. Her roles included Dean of Enrollment Management, Interim Dean of Student and Academic Success, Department Chair of Social Sciences and Assistant Professor in Foundational Studies, which offers first-year experience classes. She is now currently Content Architect for the Connect Master Student Success 100% digital product with McGraw-Hill Education.

Extended Abstract

What if individualized, full-time tutors were suddenly at every student’s fingertips? What if a “black box” of information about each and every student was opened so instructors could predict where a student was headed, and know exactly where and when to intervene with students who were most at risk of failing? What if a learning system could be created that lifted achievement across enormous populations of students and closed traditional race and gender grade gaps? And, as technology and automation changed the nature of work, students could receive one-on-one education and training for new jobs and career paths, so that higher education became a true driver of social and economic equity for all?

This world is coming into focus. A light is shining brightly on advanced algorithms and the intelligent adaptive learning systems they power. Best-in-class intelligent adaptive learning systems give every learner their own personalized courses, made specifically for their strengths, weaknesses, goals, and engagement patterns. These courses adapt in real-time to a student’s activity and adjust, moment by moment, to his/her performance and interest level. Artificial intelligence actively tailors content, and draws upon learning science knowledge domains as diverse as machine learning, cognitive science, predictive analytics, and educational theory.

Over the last five years, the combination of these sophisticated learning systems and new ways of teaching has created remarkable outcomes and leveled the playing field for students of all backgrounds. It is a profound story of the potential to create systemic change in an area of education that has remained most intractable: educational equity.

Higher education institutions are now facing a burning imperative. The right combination of intelligent learning platforms, thoughtful implementation programs and, most importantly, dedicated teachers are poised to help many millions of students learn foundational knowledge and graduate from college.

The following administrators and educators will share how they believe education can be reimagined with technology.

  • Peter van Leusen, Ph.D.: Manager of Instructional Design, Arizona State University
  • Karen Vignare, APLU, Personalized Learning Consortium, Executive Director
  • Eric Bing, CEO, College of Health Care Professions
  • LaShana Stokes, M.Ed., Harrisburg Community College