Source: Image of Goalbook logo, Fair Use, http://goalbookapp.com
In this unit the learning objectives included constructivism and cognitive flexibility theory and their use in adaptive learning, the role of the teacher in an adaptive learning environment, adaptive learning management systems, and finally, using adaptive learning technology with English language learners, gifted and talented students, and students with disabilities. We began by examining how adaptive learning might enhance both a constructivist learning environment and a learning environment based on cognitive flexibility theory.
We reviewed the fact that in constructivist theory learning is an active process. Students construct their understanding based on their own experiences and on their prior knowledge. Whereas in cognitive flexibility theory the emphasis is on the idea that learning is flexible and students generalize information from the original situation or context to new situations and contexts. We learned that adaptive learning can be a great fit in both of these environments.
It helps students to construct new understandings by building on what they already know and it promotes the executive function that is emphasized in cognitive flexibility theory. The ability of adaptive learning technology to develop unique learning pathways for all students that move from simple to more complex skills makes it a great tool for teachers implementing elements of cognitive flexibility theory as well. The next learning objective was to identify the role of the teacher in an adaptive learning environment.
We compared the traditional classroom environment to adaptive learning. In a more traditional classroom environment, the teacher presents the same content to all students. Learning is tailored to the middle of the student population. And there may be low student motivation. In contrast, a teacher who is implementing adaptive learning technology is able to provide a wide variety in content that meets the interests and needs of individual learners. In this environment, learning is accessible to all students, not just those in the middle of the pack.
And student motivation may be increased due to the individualized nature of the instruction and the practice. Our next learning objective asked us to investigate adaptive learning management systems. We learned about one particular adaptive learning management system called Goalbook. After an overview of Goalbook, we learned about the two main features of the website, Goalbook pathways, which can be implemented school-wide or district wide and presents content based on the Common Core State standards in four scaffolded levels.
And the Goalbook toolkit, which can be used by individual teachers to create learning goals and track progress and to find suggestions for instructional techniques that can be used in the classroom. The Goalbook tool kit includes features that allow it to be used effectively in conjunction with students IEP and 504 plans. Our final learning goal was using adaptive learning with special student populations, including English language learners, gifted and talented students, and students with disabilities.
We saw that adaptive learning technology is a great fit with all of these student groups because it provides resources that meet a wide variety of needs. This technology is able to provide each student with his or her own unique learning pathway. And students progress along these pathways at their own pace. Therefore, a student who is struggling can take as much time as they need to get through the material, while a student who is advanced in one area can progress more quickly.
Finally, adaptive learning technology builds on each student's unique prior knowledge and skill level, allowing students with a variety of backgrounds and skill sets to make progress and stay motivated in ways in which might not be possible in the traditional classroom environment. To recap, the learning objectives in this unit included constructivism and cognitive flexibility and their connections to adaptive learning, the role of the teacher in adaptive learning, using adaptive learning management systems, and implementing adaptive learning technology with English language learners, gifted and talented students, and students with disabilities.
So how might the information from this unit help you in your classroom? Can you think of a time when you had trouble meeting the diverse needs of learners in your classroom? Would knowledge about cognitive flexibility theory or constructivism have helped you to understand how those students acquired new information? Now that you've analyzed the role of the teacher in an adaptive learning environment, would you be better able to implement adaptive learning technology in order to help those students succeed?
Do you feel more confident in your ability to use adaptive learning technology with students with disabilities, English language learners, or students who are gifted or talented? And consider whether this new knowledge might be applicable outside of the classroom as well. For example, the next time you are participating in professional development, or even dealing with your own children or family members and friends, might you keep in mind some of the principles of constructivism and cognitive flexibility theory as you carry on conversations and share information?
Thanks for joining me in this unit. I hope you found a wealth of valuable ideas that you can implement in your classroom.
(00:00 - 00:23) Introduction
(00:24 - 01:20) Constructivism and Cognitive Flexibility Theory
(01:21 - 02:03) Teacher Role in Adaptive Learning
(02:04 - 02:48) Adaptive Learning Management Systems
(02:49 - 03:41) Special Student Populations
(03:42 - 04:04) Recap
(04:05 - 05:13) Stop and Reflect