Adaptive Learning

7 Universities Receive Grants to Implement Adaptive Learning at Scale

Seven public research universities are embarking on a three-year project focused on improving undergraduate education through personalized learning and adaptive courseware. Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Georgia State University, Northern Arizona University, Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Mississippi will each receive $515,000 from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' (APLU) Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC) as part of its Adaptive Courseware Grant program. The program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The APLU will oversee the universities' efforts to "adopt, implement and scale use of adaptive courseware in high-enrollment, blended learning courses in multiple departments and programs to improve student success," according to a news release. The association plans to implement the best practices of the seven grantees across its national network of more than 200 public research university members across the U.S.

"Public research universities are being asked to educate more students and effectively prepare them for the workforce and society at the same time they continue to face reduced state and local funding," said APLU President Peter McPherson in a press release. "The seven public research institutions leading this effort are well-positioned to adopt and scale use of innovative learning technologies that can improve the delivery of public higher education as we know it. We are eager to assist and foster their development of what will certainly be promising approaches to faculty engagement with adaptive courseware and improving learning outcomes for all students."

"We believe personalizing learning — accelerating the student learning process by tailoring the instructional environment to address the needs and skills of individual learners — with adaptive courseware can lead to better student learning outcomes within programs and increased degree attainment across higher education," said PLC Executive Director Meaghan Duff. "Faculty and pedagogical experts must play a central role in the adoption and delivery of digital courseware for adaptive technologies to take hold and to truly personalize learning for college and university students. We're very excited about the potential impact these seven institutions will find over the course of the grant that could help reshape the way general education courses are delivered."

After a thorough application and review process, the seven grantees were selected for their experience with and capacity to support adaptive courseware use at institution-level scale, according to the APLU. The universities "share a commitment to fundamental transformation of general education, closing attainment gaps among students facing the greatest challenges to access and success, and engaging faculty in teaching and learning redesign across multiple disciplines and departments. Enrolling more than 200,000 students annually, 35 percent of whom receive Pell grants, the seven institutions have the leadership engagement and organizational capacity for effecting substantial improvement in six-year graduation rates."

More information on the Adaptive Courseware Grant program is available on the APLU site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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