5 advantages to adaptive learning

E-learning has some real advantages over in-person methods, including availability of training 24/7. Photo credit: fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images (man on laptop with headphones)

Industry upheavals brought about by COVID-19 mean that distance learning will become more crucial than ever before.

E-learning has some real advantages over in-person methods, including availability of training 24/7, self-pacing, scalability, repeatability and consistency of educational content for all learners across distance and time. But there are drawbacks as well.

Electronic modules are typically linear, static, and don’t foster retention among learners. The technology of adaptive learning can overcome these challenges by incorporating artificial intelligence, along with evidence-based strategies for optimal learning and retention.

Here are the top five advantages of adaptive learning over traditional e-learning approaches:

1. One-size-fits-one 

As the name implies, adaptive learning adjusts in real time to a student’s responses and presents material at a pace appropriate to the individual student. Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach of a traditional e-learning curriculum, each student will have a truly unique learning experience.

2. Active engagement

Students interact with adaptive learning courses in multiple ways—not only by responding to questions and tasks, but by self-reporting knowledge levels and scoring their own confidence along the way. Learners become active participants in the process rather than passively receiving information.

3. Learner’s ability

Students come to training with different levels of knowledge and experience. Adaptive learning programs are able to identify knowledge gaps and also adjust for competency. A knowledgeable learner will progress through the program quickly, while a learner struggling with a concept will take more time and will repeat the material until competency is gained.

4. Increased retention

Rather than a linear progression of concepts, adaptive learning regularly circles back to review concepts from earlier in the training. This reinforces ideas and allows learners to retain knowledge better for the long term.

5. Identification of skill gaps and knowledge weaknesses

Reporting from adaptive learning software gives trainers extensive information about each individual learner’s performance. This information can point out where further training may be needed or which topics to review to ensure a complete grasp of the subject.

E-learning can be a powerful tool in any trainer’s toolbox, but it has to be implemented correctly in order to be effective. With the expanded call for remote options, trainers would be smart to consider integrating adaptive learning into their programming of the future.

Monique Donahue is the director of e-learning for Hilton Grand Vacations. She is the president-elect of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART).