Blog Post

Fried Training Talk- Adaptive Learning

Published: Friday, December 13, 2019

A former coworker was telling me about a discussion about the impact of Adaptive Learning, and she thought I should do a Fried Training Talk on the topic.

For those of you who don’t know Adaptive Learning is: a computer-based and/or online educational system that modifies training materials in response to student performance. Think of it as sophisticated testing out, where the training is automatically adapted based on what people show they already know or can easily figure out.

Their discussion suggested that Subject Matter Experts turned Trainers will need to either grow their instructional design knowledge or go back to just being SMEs again, particularly when it comes to understanding how to properly assess learning. Some of the reasoning here is if we create assessments that don’t properly demonstrate changed behavior, how can we be sure the instruction is being accurately adapted for the learner?


This is only one impact Adaptive Learning programs might have on the training industry, what other impacts do you think wider use of adaptive learning might have on those of us that develop training and on those being trained?

About the Author

W. Keith Pomeroy Working in the training field for over 20 years, Keith has trained and developed everything from ELearning on soft skills to instructor led classroom training on basic hygiene. He worked for 18 years for the corporate giant Xerox before spending 4 years working for a not for profit, Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Currently, Mr. Pomeroy is part of a great team that allows him to develop training (and occasionally deliver training) for Oneida Nation Enterprises. Over the years, Keith has instigated many discussions in different forums on Instructional Design theory, Training Delivery practices, and Performance Support. These can often be found under the heading, Fried Training Talk (named this way because when they were initially started they came out every Friday). He loves working through issues that many designers and instructors encounter and finding the best possible solutions. Mr. Pomeroy has utilized many ELearning and Performance support tools in his training development, from Authorware and RoboHelp to Articulate Storyline, Captivate, and Brainshark.


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One of the best e-learning courses I ever took was a simple quiz of 10 questions (with concise feedback) that allowed me to fail quickly the first time I took the assessment, provide quick answers via feedback, and then demonstrate mastery by retaking it again. As a busy manager, I really appreciated this kind of training design where there was not a formal presentation of concepts, before testing my comprehension. I felt both respected and humbled as an adult learner (and then learned more)!
Robb- I'm glad that worked well for you. Adaptive Learning is definitely evolving it will be interesting to see how it ends up impacting all our ELearning.
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