A little while back, Melinda Gates wrote a heartfelt article about some of what needs to be done to make sure more of U.S. college students actually become college graduates. In a country where only 55% of those who enroll make it to the end of their program, it’s increasingly clear that we need some new approaches.
She notes that technology is helping to increase the number of options that students have for getting through their coursework. Given that one of the major factors in students dropping out is because the traditional ways of organizing classes doesn’t work with their already demanding lives, giving students more flexibility can dramatically improve their ability to learn.
For example, she notes,
A little more than a decade ago, only 32 percent of students who enrolled at Georgia State University were making it all the way to graduation. Today, that number is 22 points higher. One of the many changes GSU made was introducing online adaptive learning courses.
In a traditional classroom, if you encounter a concept you don’t understand, the class simply moves on without you—and over time, you fall further and further behind. But with adaptive learning technology, learning is individualized, so you can go at your own pace. Students are tested in real time and asked to demonstrate mastery of each concept before advancing to the next. The class never moves forward without you—because as far as the course is concerned, you are the class. The technology is making an especially big difference for GSU’s low-income and minority students, who are scoring higher in an adaptive introductory English course than their peers in a class that meets in person.
This is one of the reasons Kaltura is so excited about some of the technologies emerging in education today, from predictive analytics to interactive video. We believe every student deserves a chance to learn, even if they need some more flexibility to do so. We should be striving towards a future where every student succeeds at their goals.
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