By Steve Kolowich
MOOCs and adaptive-learning software are often billed as two of the most potentially game-changing technologies in higher education. The White House, for one, is excited to see what might happen if and when those two technologies meet.
It would seem natural to combine massive-open-online-course platforms, which accommodate thousands of students, with adaptive-learning software, which responds to the needs of individual students. But so far that has not happened.
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology this month wrote a letter to President Obama briefing him on MOOCs. In the letter, released on Wednesday, the group told the president that while “the jury is out” on the long-term implications of MOOCs, the scale of the massive courses could yet improve access to higher education while reducing its cost.
If it does, adaptive-learning software may play a role, the advisers suggested.
“The new MOOC technologies should allow teachers to measure student comprehension in real time and adjust the material presented to students to achieve higher levels of competency,” the advisers wrote.
“One possible trajectory for the MOOC technology,” they continued, “would be to reduce the cost of education simply by economizing on the use of teachers, using computerized feedback to support a course rather than online or offline personal guidance by a faculty member or a teaching assistant.”
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/what-if-you-blended-adaptive-learning-with-moocs/49109 ]