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  • Special Report: Learning In The Digital Age

    Scientific American - 07/17/2013

    Higher-education administrators are warming up to adaptivity, too. In a recent Inside Higher Ed/Gallup poll, 66 percent of college presidents said they found adaptive-learning and testing technologies promising. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched the Adaptive Learning Market Acceleration Program, which will issue 10$100,000 grants to U.S. colleges and universities to develop adaptive courses that enroll at least 500 students over three semesters. “In the long term—20 years out—I would expect virtually every course to have an adaptive component of some kind,” says Peter Stokes, an expert on digital education at Northeastern University. That will be a good thing, he says—an opportunity to apply empirical study and cognitive science to education in a way that has never been done. In higher education in particular, “very, very, very few instructors have a formal education in how to teach,” he says. “We do things, and we think they work. But when you start doing scientific measurement, you realize that some of our ways of doing things have no empirical basis.”