How is Adaptive Learning Improving Education in the Digital World?

How is Adaptive Learning Improving Education in the Digital World? | Online Learning | Emeritus

One sector that strongly repels the concept of ‘one size fits all’ is education. Over the decades, learners have been forced to adjust to learning or education systems or models which fixate on outcomes and not on the individual growth of students. Of late, the adaptive learning methodology has been reducing such barriers in education. It focuses on the requirements of the learners and uses a personalized teaching approach. With the global adaptive learning market size expected to grow to $5.3 billion by 2025, let’s understand what this learning is and how relevant it is to adult learners.

Adaptive learning

What is Adaptive Learning?

As the name suggests, the concept of adaptive learning is based on the foundation of adapting to the individual needs of students by offering customized learning material and assessments.  Its models or platforms adjust the delivery of education and learning outcomes according to the student’s progress. For instance, devices continuously monitor changes in individual characteristics and performances and adjust the learning path.

Four core elements of this type of learning enable a personalized teaching and learning style: individual traits, individual performance, personal development, and adaptive adjustment. The learning model is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) theory that assesses the personalities of individuals. The theory states that every person has various qualities and preferences. It is used in learning models to prepare personalized lessons for each individual.

freelance skillsHow is Adaptive Learning Evolving?

Technologies like cloud computing, big data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are transforming learning approaches at a massive rate. The following are some of the latest trends in this kind of learning:

Increased Use of AI-Powered Tools

Adaptive learning platforms are now using more AI-powered tools to provide personalized learning experiences to students. These tools can analyze large amounts of data to identify patterns in learning and provide insights into how students can learn more effectively. AI-enabled learning tools are improving the ability to create, access, and manipulate information. Thus, students have complete control over what they want to learn and how. This is helping them thrive in a fast-paced digital environment.

Learning Analytics

Learning analytics is another trend that is becoming increasingly important in adaptive learning. This involves using data analytics to track student progress and provide real-time feedback to teachers and students alike. The use of big data and analytics in the learning space is making education more effective by offering a structured learning environment to students. 

Gamification-Induced Learning

Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, such as education. Such  learning platforms are now incorporating gamification elements, such as leaderboards, badges, and rewards, to motivate students and make learning more engaging.


Microlearning involves breaking down complex topics into smaller, bite-sized chunks of information that are easier to digest. Adaptive learning platforms are using microlearning techniques to help students learn more efficiently and retain information for longer periods.

Mobile Learning

With the rise of mobile devices, adaptive learning is now becoming more mobile-friendly. These platforms are optimized for mobile devices, allowing students to learn anytime, anywhere.

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How Does Adaptive Learning Impact Edtech?

Adaptive Learning

Adapting learning and edtech together are breaking the barriers in education, making quality education accessible to the masses. Adaptive learning and edtech aim to solve three issues at once: quality of education, cost of education, and accessibility. End-to-end adaptive learning edtech platforms with an interactive interface have had the above-mentioned impact in the following ways:

Improved Learning Outcomes

Adaptive learning enables edtech platforms to personalize learning experiences for each student. This can lead to improved learning outcomes and higher student engagement. These platforms also customize feedback to students based on their individual learning needs and preferences. This, in turn, helps students identify areas for improvement and provide guidance on how they can do it.

Improved Framework

Due to the increasing use of adaptive learning techniques, edtech platforms are also improving their framework and introducing new models like authoring modules for teachers to design interactive courses, assessment modules to evaluate the proficiency and skills of individuals, collaborative modules for interactive discussion and sharing resources and reporting modules to track progress.

To sum up, adaptive learning is driving innovation in the edtech industry, enabling the development of more effective and engaging educational experiences for learners.

Can Adult Learners Benefit from Adaptive Learning?

Adaptive learning is considered one of the best approaches for constructive learning outcomes, even in the case of adult learners. It offers learning by focusing on the strengths of each learner and keeps them constantly engaged. This improves learning outcomes and reduces the rate of dropouts from courses. Instead of adult learners adjusting to conventional learning methodologies, adapting learning empowers adult learners by teaching them according to their preferences. 

Some of the significant features of adaptive learning that can benefit adult learners are diversity, inclusion, interactivity, customized feedback, and predictability. These allow adult learners or working professionals to learn at their own pace and work on their weaknesses. Overall, it enables adult learners to acquire relevant knowledge and experience and enhance their critical thinking skills.

What are the Pros and Cons of Adaptive Learning for Adult Learners?

Even though a large number of institutions are focusing on adaptive learning educational models, it comes with a specific set of challenges for higher education. The following are the benefits and disadvantages of adaptive learning for professional educational institutions.

Pros of Adaptive Learning

  1. Personalized learning: It helps students learn at their own pace, providing them with personalized content and instruction based on their strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. Increases acquisition of knowledge.
  2. Efficiency: It enables students to learn faster and retain information longer. Also helps teachers identify areas where students need more support and tailor instruction accordingly, thereby reducing stress in learners.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: This can be a cost-effective way to deliver education because it reduces the need for teachers and other personnel.

Cons of Adaptive Learning

  1. Limited human interaction: The use of AI models can be automated, limiting the opportunities for learners to interact with teachers and peers, and slowing the growth of interpersonal skills.
  2. Increased reliance on technology: It is highly dependent on technology, which can be prone to glitches and malfunctions, and might offer biased learning instructions or assessments to learners. Could hamper learning outcomes.
  3. Reduces Competitiveness: This personalized approach can make it difficult to gauge the progress of learners in comparison to their peers, thereby reducing the spirit of healthy competitiveness.

Learn More with Emeritus

The adaptive learning industry is booming as an increasing number of institutions and learners are incorporating personalized learning. The fast-paced competitive environment has made it imperative for learners to invest in online courses that allow personalized learning. You too can make a start by choosing from the wide range of online courses that are uniquely designed by Emeritus to help learners focus on their strengths and learn in-demand skills. 

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About the Author

Managing Editor, Emeritus Blog
Anwesha is our in-house expert on careers, trends impacting the workforce, and what makes content tick. As a journalist and content creator for 10+ years, Anwesha leaves a bit of herself in every story. Her superpower is to take the bare bones and turn it into a winning narrative for brands. Her passion to tell stories of human triumph led her to Emeritus where she continues to weave engaging tales. Anwesha is also a doting dog mom and hopes to make her boisterous canine a pawfluencer.
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