Adaptive Learning for Faculty Training: Considerations of Technologies

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Brief Abstract

One challenge of faculty training for online teaching is to satisfy instructors with different levels of knowledge and skills. Adaptive learning can be a solution. Three adaptive learning tools are considered, compared, and discussed based on a set of criteria that will be shared in this session.

Presenters

Corrinne Stull is an Instructional Designer at the University of Central Florida's Center for Distributed Learning (CDL). Corrinne holds a B.A. in Digital Media with a focus on Web Design and previously worked in web development. Her interest in combining technology and education to design and create online learning experiences led her to pursue an M.A. in Instructional Design & Technology, focusing on Instructional Systems. In her current role, Corrinne specializes in personalized adaptive learning software and strategies. Other research interests include online course accessibility, active learning strategies, quality in online courses, and the use of OER materials. Additionally, Corrinne is the coordinator of CDL's Faculty Seminars in Online Teaching, standalone seminars offered periodically for collegial dialogue around best practices in online teaching.
Jackie has worked for the University of Central Florida's Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) since March 2013. Previously a technical support assistant for Webcourses@UCF Support, she now works as an Instructional Technology Specialist II for the Instructional Development team. She manages the creation and support for non-academic web-based courses called Special Programs, supports the proactive captioning initiative, develops content for CDL faculty development programs, oversees the transcription of TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast, and produces online training materials and support documents. Concurrent to her employment at CDL, Jackie received an M.A. in Instructional Design & Technology – eLearning and a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Jackie’s passion for online accessibility inspires her instructional design decisions. Her studies in English have strengthened her skills in writing and editing, and she employs these skills to create content that is clear, consistent, and grammatically correct. In 2016, she received the Information Technologies and Resources Outstanding Service Award. Jackie’s ambition for quality and creativity extends beyond her work at CDL. In her spare time, Jackie performs and competes as a ballroom dancer.
Anchalee Ngampornchai is an instructional designer at University of Central Florida. She earned her MA and PhD in Intercultural Communication and MS in Instructional Systems. Prior to her current position, Anchalee worked for several higher-education institutions including California State University Fullerton, Florida State University, and University of South Florida. Her experience includes developing more than 100 asynchronous online modules and managing multiple online courses in Moodle, Canvas, and Blackboard. With her cross-disciplinary background, Anchalee’s research interest is often at the intersection between learning design and intercultural communication. This includes the adoption of online education in developing countries and cross-cultural interaction in online courses.

Extended Abstract

Preparing instructors to design, develop, and teach online courses is not only necessary, but also impactful to the university’s missions. The experience of more than 10 years offering faculty training revealed that one of the challenges is to fulfill the needs of instructors with varied levels of knowledge and skills. For example, some instructors have taught online and therefore, are more familiar with learning management systems; some instructors have never used online learning technologies but are knowledgeable about learning theories. The faculty are busy individuals and when encountering ineffective training often feel their time is not well-spent or the training is not sufficient to help them develop their online courses.

This learning challenge can be overcome by employing an adaptive learning strategy. Adaptive learning places individual learners in the levels best suit to them. The learners are assessed at the outset and can skip content and topics that they have already mastered. Studies have shown that adaptive learning increases learners’ satisfaction and knowledge retention.  

At the University of Central Florida’s Center for Distributed Learning, a team of instructional designers is working to design an adaptive learning faculty training program that is expected to serve more than 40 instructors per semester. One of the important first steps is to select the most appropriate adaptive learning technology. Three technologies are under consideration: RealizeIt, Canvas’s MasteryPaths, and ObojoboNext, an in-house application. These technologies are assessed based on a set of criteria listed below:

  • Adaptive capabilities
  • Content authoring/editing
  • Learner usability
  • Integration and maintenance
  • Aesthetics
  • Cost
  • Data analytics

The assessment and comparison of these technologies is conducted based on available information of the technologies and on the experience of the instructional designers who have used these technologies. A rating scale has also been used to evaluate each criterion objectively and systematically.

In this session, we hope to share the process of selecting adaptive learning technology. We will discuss the criteria and why they are significant. Participants can add to the discussion by sharing adaptive learning platforms that they use at their institution, evaluation strategies, relevant implementation methods, and additional considerations.