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Planning to Implement Adaptive Learning? 4 Questions to Consider

Time to Change the System

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This is a harsh dichotomy! Think for a minute about training. How are employees usually trained? Too often, either all of them are taken through an ILT session or all are provided the same eLearning course. Basically, employees are all made to fit into the training being provided, regardless of their individual needs.

At the same time, according to a study, 70% of employees feel that job-related training and development directly influences their decision to stay at the company or not. Hence, it is important you strive to develop and deliver the best learning experience to learners – a learning experience that will cater to the unique needs of each of your learners. This is where Adaptive Learning comes into play; change the learning experiences to fit the individual. 

What Exactly Is Adaptive Learning?

Adaptive Learning is a form of personalized learning in which an adaptive learning system determines what the learner exactly requires and delivers subsequent learning materials accordingly. In simpler terms, it is more like a personal virtual assistant that keeps a watch on your learning activities and provides further learning based on your needs, rather than solely the organization’s.

For example, many eLearning courses usually follow a traditional linear path (i.e., every learner goes through module 1 – module 5). Imagine opening Netflix and only being able to watch movies or shows in a prescribed order someone else determined. That would be pretty disengaging; not to mention frustrating and inefficient. But in adaptive learning, your learner may not have to take up an entire curriculum of courses. Only the content required to close the identified knowledge or skill gaps would be provided to each learner, leading to more effective and faster learning.

Now, before actually planning to implement an adaptive learning strategy within your online training framework, there are a few factors you need to consider. Here are 4 questions to help you plan a successful implementation.

4 Questions to Ask for Successful Adaptive Learning Implementation

1. Is My Organization Ready?

Are you really ready to implement adaptive learning? Implementing it should not be considered a simple task as there are a lot of things to look into prior to the implementation – time, budget, technology, and expertise being the most important factors.


For adaptive learning, you need a large volume and variety of content. For example, if you are delivering training on product knowledge and one of the module deals with features, you may need to develop a video explaining the features, an infographic on the same, and maybe also a podcast. Hence you need to decide if your organization can dedicate sufficient time to develop and maintain content.


Now, developing so much content will obviously be a costly affair – be it developing in-house or outsourcing the requirements. Besides this, setting up the adaptive learning platform, Internet access, and more will add to additional costs. Ensure you have available budget upfront for the implementation.


An adaptive platform mainly works on predictive algorithms and the integration of Experience API, or a Learning Management System. While integrating them will make learning more effective, your organization also needs to have the necessary infrastructure and a dedicated team to support this technology.


You also need to have the necessary know-how when implementing adaptive learning. Since it involves the integration of learning analytics and other technologies, a dedicated team should be in place, who have enough expertise to guide and support learners as well as the organization.

2. How Can Adaptive Learning Benefit My Organization?

While adaptive learning is known to deliver individualized, focused learning paths to learners, it also offers a myriad of other benefits to your organization including:

  • Offer learning based on individual learner needs and profile
  • Track the progress of learners and offer real-time feedback for self-remediation
  • Provide ownership of the learning journey and help advance independently
  • Gather rich data to foster better course development
  • Encourage learners to make responsible choices
  • Helps achieve mastery in a short span of time
  • Fuel a continuous learning culture

3. What Should I Consider When Opting for An Adaptive System?

Adaptive Learning Systems adjust to the level of an individual based on their learning needs and skills, focusing on accelerating and improving their performance. “The intent of these machine learning systems is to use proficiency and determine what a student really knows and to accurately and logically move students through a sequential learning path to prescribed learning outcomes and skill mastery,” reads an article by Educause review. They can either be used as standalone software or combined with your existing Learning Management System.

While adaptive learning systems are the “mastermind” behind adaptive learning, there are a few factors you need to consider before opting for one:

  • The number of learning paths it offers
  • The kind of data it gathers
  • The quality of reporting
  • The nature of feedback provided
  • The customization needed to fit your needs

4. What Are the Likely Threats?

While adaptive learning indeed has proved to be extremely beneficial, it trials along a few threats too. As an organization planning to implement adaptive learning, it is extremely vital you know about:

Embracing Paradigm Shift

Delivering training through adaptive learning is on a totally different level. Hence not everybody might be receptive toward this strategy no matter how beneficial it is, especially people not comfortable with technology. Also, not every individual likes the thought of being constantly monitored and tracked; which, in turn, might make them skeptical about adapting this new method of learning.

Dependent on a Stable Network Ability

Adaptive learning is impossible without a stable network connection throughout. A lack of s stable Internet connection will lead to an ineffective (or impossible) learning experience. Besides Internet, the choice of the adaptive learning platforms and the server also play a great role in delivering effective adaptive learning.

An Example of Adaptive Learning

Sales Training

This course is a pre-assessment that focuses on evaluating learners on their existing knowledge on the various steps involved in selling a car. Learners are expected to rate each of their skills such as ‘Meet and Greet’ and ‘Negotiating the sale.’ Once they rate themselves, they will be provided modules on the skill they believe they are lacking in.

Thus, every single learner will not have to take up all the modules; just the one’s they are lacking in. Click the image to view the course.

Adaptive Learning Sample

Final Note

“Adaptive learning platforms have a probability to be the false step on the path of this future, but the risk of marking a step as wrong is very wrong itself before we have seen where it leads to,” reads an article by Medium. There is no denying this. Consider these questions to make your implementation of adaptive learning easier! Then, gear yourself up to witness an unforeseeable progress in your learners’ performance and the overall organizational performance!

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