Expert Views

Published on Aug 07, 2023

Adaptive learning: maximizing the use of AI in education

Jonny May

Project Leader

The education sector is challenged to deliver engaging, effective, and personalized content that meets the growing expectations of diverse learners who are increasingly shaped by digital interactions. Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into education, particularly through adaptive learning, holds great promise to meet these challenges. But it’s not a simple switch. This transition comes with its own set of complexities and requires a solid understanding of the technology and its implementation. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges educational institutions face in delivering engaging and personalized content, the transformative potential of AI in education through adaptive learning, and strategies for effectively using AI to enhance the learning experience.


We’ll discuss how AI can enable a shift from a static, one-size-fits-all approach to a more dynamic, personalized, and immersive learning model. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide for educators, administrators, and policymakers who want to use AI in education and rise to the challenge of meeting and exceeding the growing expectations in the digital age.


This approach unfolds in three key stages, each offering distinct advantages over traditional, static e-learning. Let’s delve into these stages and their benefits, concluding with strategic advice for institutions looking to embrace adaptive learning.


Stage 1: Content mapping & competency mapping

To create a foundation for well-structured, adaptive learning, educational content can be mapped to create an interconnected knowledge network. A knowledge graph containing key concepts and their relationships to one another is thereby created. Unlike static e-learning, which rests on information in a linear and disconnected manner, content mapping enables learners to interact with an intricate web of interconnected knowledge.

Working in tandem with content mapping, competency mapping ensures that learners acquire the necessary skills, abilities, and knowledge. This strategic linking of competencies with relevant content helps establish a more targeted and meaningful learning journey, a feature often absent in static e-learning.


Stage 2: Content curation and generation

Content curation and generation mark a pivotal process in adaptive learning. With the relevant content mapped on a granular level in a knowledge graph, AI methods can be used to curate content that relates to an individual learner’s needs. In addition, rather than retrieve existing relevant content, the latest developments in large-language models enables the actual generation of content of a specific type, matching a specific competency. Such modes can be used to develop a wide array of exercises and learning materials, immersing students in a rich educational landscape. Unlike static e-learning, which often relies on a finite set of resources, generative content provides an infinite variety of questions and tasks. This diversity helps maintain student engagement and reduces the risk of learning fatigue. Informed by the structure of mapped content, content that is either retrieved or generated can be directed to an individual learner’s needs, identifying their strengths and weaknesses and can guide the content that they receive accordingly. This makes a huge contrast to static e-learning which typically provides a one-size-fits-all experience, making personal adaptation a tedious, manual task.


A further benefit of content curation and generation is the ability to provide a learner with material in different formats, or alternative explanations of the same concept. This allows adaptive learning to focus not only on finding the best topic but also to learn the same topic in various ways.


For example, if a learner is struggling with an exercise, the AI tools can provide additional resources like diagrams, videos, or interactive exercises, enhancing their comprehension. This individualized approach respects each learner’s pace and learning style, optimizing knowledge retention, an advantage often lacking in conventional e-learning.


Stage 3: Personalized pathways

The final stage of adaptive learning is creating personalized pathways. AI can be used to craft a unique learning path for each student, using their strengths, interests, and learning preferences as guideposts. Unlike static e-learning, which provides the same learning journey to all students, adaptive learning evolves in tandem with the student’s progression. It provides the right level of challenge and support at each step, thereby promoting an enriching learning experience.


Outlook & recommendation: mapping before generating

As institutions contemplate the adoption of adaptive learning strategies, the question of where to start often arises. Although the creation of generative content might seem attractive, our recommendation emphasizes starting with content mapping.


Content mapping offers a clear roadmap of the intended learning path. This clarity not only benefits the learners but also the teaching and administration staff, providing a better understanding of the curriculum. Once this mapping process is in place, generative content can follow, supplementing the knowledge graph and fostering a more versatile and dynamic learning environment.


In conclusion, AI-powered adaptive learning represents a phenomenal opportunity to revolutionize education. With its personalized, engaging, and efficient learning experiences, adaptive learning transcends the limitations of traditional static e-learning. It’s a journey of transformation, enabling a bright future for education.