Invigorate the Whole Learner Experience and Reawaken Your Love of Teaching with Adaptive Courseware

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

Learn how Adaptive Courseware enhances your teaching experience and your students' learning experience. The session includes case-studies and addresses common questions around Adaptive Courseware.


Jim Thompson is the CEO of CogBooks. He and the company are passionate about applying science-based methods to education delivery. It is believed that this scientific approach will allow educators to revolutionize the effectiveness of learning over the next decade. Jim began his career as a researcher in physics. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, and continued there as a Research Fellow. His work has been published in international scientific journals and conferences. In 1998, Jim left academia for the high-tech sector, initially working in the US and Europe for Thermo Electron’s Semiconductor Division. He then relocated to Silicon Valley to take up a role as global product manager with a leading semiconductor company. While there, he moved into a corporate-wide role, helping to develop the company’s marketing and sales organizations globally. His responsibilities covered Europe, Israel, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and the US.

Extended Abstract

Outcomes of this Session: 
•    Deep understanding of adaptive learning and the different approaches of adaption
•    Using adaptive technology in postsecondary teaching
•    Understand which types of insights into students are available through adaptive tools
•    Learn how to use learning analytics 
o    to inform real-time interaction with students 
o    to continuously improve courseware 

Today’s post-secondary institutions in the US are facing enormous pressure to improve cost-effectiveness, quality, completion rates and time to completion. More and more technological innovations are aiming to disrupt the market and address these challenges in a unique way. One of these technologies, adaptive learning systems, is emerging as a new pedagogical approach to teaching, providing instructors with advanced tools and insights. Uncertainty and scepticism around the effectiveness of adaptive learning represent major barriers to its adoption in Higher Education. This session gives participants the opportunity to meet others who use adaptive systems to support their teaching and learn how it can be used to improve their classroom experience.

Structure of Presentation
In order to achieve the learning outcomes specified above, we provide a comprehensive overview of adaptive learning and best practices and give ample opportunity for discussion and networking: 
1.    General introduction of adaptive learning systems (5 min)
We will start the presentation with providing an overview over the different approaches to adaptive learning and their benefits and drawbacks. These different types have been identified as Macro-adaptive (content-focused), Micro-adaptive (sequencing), Formula-based and Algorithm-based (using learning networks). Each of these types integrated differently with teaching, but in this session we will proceed with a focus on algorithm-based adaptivity. 

2.    Implementation of adaptive technology in post-secondary teaching (10 min)
Together with one (or several) of our institutional partners, we explore the implementation phase. This part will give the audience unique insights into the resources required to build an adaptive course, the challenges experienced and strategies used to overcome potential barriers. We will further show first results from the usage of the courseware in both quantitative data and qualitative feedback from students and instructors. 

3.    Illustration of instructor dashboards and data analytics (15 min)
Together with institutional partners, we will illustrate the different types of data that can be collected in adaptive systems. Furthermore, we will show instructor dashboards and explain how they can be interpreted. The main focus in this part is the demonstration of how these insights can be used to identify general problem areas in the course, students who struggle with specific parts of the course, students’ progress through the course and their readiness for assessments. These insights can in turn trigger well-informed one-to-one sessions with students, revision of problematic parts of the courseware and targeted feedback to students. This part of adaptive learning is often understated but is in fact one of its major advantages. Using these insights in their teaching will allow instructors to allocate their time in a more effective and rewarding way. They will also be able to provide students with the support they really need, which ultimately results in a more successful classroom experience for both students and instructors.

4.    Small group Q&A (15 min)
In this last part, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions to Jim or our institutional partners. To facilitate a more productive discussion, we will divide the audience into smaller groups and allocate each presenter to one group. By using this approach, we allow the participants to ask questions in a more intimate atmosphere and ensure that all their voices will be heard. Furthermore, this will facilitate networking among the participants and an exchange of contact details in order to take the conversation further. 


Logistics of Session
This session mostly relies on presentation slides and one or two videos. The setup of the venue should allow for the formation of small groups at the end of the session, e.g. by having high top tables in the back.