Adaptive learning tech ‘a powerful tool’ for principals

Adaptive learning tech ‘a powerful tool’ for principals

A new partnership between a university and an ed-tech start-up aims to improve student outcomes by helping students engage first-hand with adaptive learning technology while developing their understanding of assessments.

Smart Sparrow, a global leader in adaptive learning technology, announced its partnership with Deakin University on Thursday. 

The partnership will see the university use Smart Sparrow’s learning design platform to help train the next generation of educators to deliver new digital learning strategies aimed at better educating the minds of the future.

Designed specifically for online delivery by a team of learning designers from Smart Sparrow and Deakin, the new Graduate Certificate of Professional Practice (Digital Learning), offered within the School of Education, aims to develop and equip students with digitally-enabled teaching and learning skills.

“Smart Sparrow believes in designing tools that support excellent teaching and put teachers first to unlock the potential of adaptive learning technology,” the company’s founder and CEO, Dr Dror Ben-Naim, told The Educator.

“With Smart Sparrow, school leaders have at hand learner-centred design expertise and cutting-edge technology to reach high-performers, middle-of-the-pack, and at-risk students.” 

Ben-Naim said that for students to be successful, schools need to ensure they’re getting the individual help they need. 

“Adaptive technology provides that,” he said, pointing out that the education space – and students’ expectations – are changing at a rapid rate.

To keep up with the transformation, Ben-Naim said school leaders need to embrace technology and enhance their digital skills so they can provide better learning experiences, especially through online medium. 

“The primary challenge is keeping skills and learning relevant and meaningful,” he said. 

Associate Professor Damian Blake, who is the Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, told The Educator that one of the biggest challenges that educators face is being able to personalise students’ learning experiences and to respond to their diverse range of starting points in a curriculum. 

“I anticipate that the adaptive learning experiences provided by Smart Sparrow will provide a powerful tool for our educators in meeting this challenge,” he said. 

“Our use of the application in our Graduate Certificate of Professional Practice [digital learning] is designed to provide students – who are themselves educators – with a first-hand experience of adaptive learning as a method of learning about designing assessment activities.”

Blake said digital learning technology is continuously emerging and creating new and innovative opportunities for learners “to become more independent than ever”.

“This is occurring at a time when we are less likely to tolerate poor quality learning experiences and poorly designed programs being offered to our learners,” he said.

“So what is emerging is that many education providers are now seeking to create more thoughtfully-designed learning experiences and programs that utilise the best of these new digital learning resources available.” 

Blake said this also means teachers are now working more closely with specialist learning designers and resource managers to design learning programs that have a much stronger respect for the individual learning journey of each student in a program. 

“That is exciting!” he said.