Benefits of Adaptive Learning Technologies in Online English Teaching

Benefits of Adaptive Learning Technologies in Online English Teaching

Technology is like marmite – you either love it or hate it. One of the reasons why people find it difficult to warm up to the most advanced forms of tech is because of the speed in which it develops. That’s understandable, as it’s hard to keep up – as soon as you get used to an app or device, it becomes obsolete and it’s replaced with a bigger, better, and upgraded version.

However, your relationship with technology doesn’t need to be a conflict. As the old political saying suggests, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. Contrary to popular belief, the advice here is to have better control of the situation from within rather than surrender or be defeated. It is possible to learn to live with technology and – even better – to make it work for you, by exploiting it to make your life easier.

In the context of language learning/teaching, the use of technology is almost unavoidable, especially since ‘remote learning’ has become part of our daily lives. One of the aspects that have considerably affected the development of language learning is the introduction of Adaptive Learning Technologies.

What are Adaptive Learning Technologies? What practical advantages do they bring?

Adaptive Learning Technologies are educational tools and systems that can personalise the learning experience based on the individual needs and progress of each student under self-study conditions, but they can also be invaluable tools for the teachers.

Let’s see what advantages Adaptive Learning Technologies can bring to the language learners and teachers.

  • Personalised Content 

Adaptive Learning Technologies can provide customised learning materials and resources to students. These materials are tailored to their specific learning goals, interests, and proficiency levels. For example, if a student is struggling with grammar, the system may provide targeted grammar exercises or explanations.

Furthermore, this type of technologies tailors the learning experience to individual students, considering their specific needs, preferred way of learning, and proficiency levels. This personalised approach helps learners focus on areas that require improvement and provides the optimal strategies to achieve their goals.

Teachers can use Adaptive Learning Technologies to create individualised learning plans for each student. They can assign specific activities, exercises, or lessons tailored to each student’s needs and objectives while providing targeted instruction.

  • Individual Progress Tracking

Adaptive systems track the progress of each student in real-time. They gather data on their performance, including correct and incorrect answers, time spent on each task, and areas of difficulty. This data is then used to create individual learning profiles for each student.

The analysis of each student’s strengths and weaknesses enables educators to identify areas where learners excel and areas that need further attention so that they can receive customised feedback and support, enhancing their language acquisition process.

This can also help teachers make informed decisions on their teaching strategies accordingly and provide targeted interventions to address specific learning gaps.

  • Intelligent Recommendations

Based on the data collected, Adaptive Learning Technologies generate intelligent recommendations for the next steps in a student’s learning journey. For instance, if a student consistently performs well in vocabulary exercises, the system may suggest more challenging vocabulary tasks or move on to other language skills.

Adaptive Learning Technologies enable teachers to differentiate instruction based on individual student needs. Teachers can assign different levels of difficulty or different types of activities to cater to students’ varying proficiency levels and interests. This ensures that each student is appropriately challenged and supported in their language learning journey.

  • Adaptive Feedback and Support 

These technologies can provide immediate feedback to students on their performance. They can identify errors, explain correct answers, and offer suggestions for improvement. Adaptive systems may also provide additional resources or support materials to help students overcome specific difficulties. Teachers can leverage this feature to facilitate formative assessment. They can review the feedback provided by the system, identify common errors or misconceptions, and provide additional explanations or corrective guidance. This formative feedback helps students understand their mistakes, learn from them, and improve their language skills.

  • Flexible Learning Paths 

Adaptive Learning Technologies offer flexibility in the learning process. They adapt the sequence and difficulty level of activities based on a student’s progress. This means that each student can follow a unique learning path, advancing at their own pace and focusing on areas that require more attention. It allows them to review concepts as needed and to move forward when they are ready, while fostering a sense of autonomy and promoting self-directed and independent learning.

  • Enhanced Engagement and Motivation 

Adaptive Learning Technologies often incorporate interactive and gamified elements, making the learning experience more engaging and enjoyable. By offering challenges, rewards, and progress indicators, these tools can boost learners’ motivation and encourage them to actively participate in their language learning journey. It can be particularly useful in countries where language learning is divided between traditional approaches and modern tools.

Highly technologically advanced countries like Japan, for example, are experimenting with advanced technology to bring their traditional educational system into the 21st century. If you are interested in teaching English in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, you can apply directly to private language schools. Alternatively, if you want to work in the public education system, you should think about JET program Japan opportunities, where you can truly experience the Japanese culture, teaching young learners and working alongside local teachers.

  • Efficient Use of Time and Resources

Adaptive Learning Technologies optimise the use of instructional time and resources in and outside the classroom. The Flipped Classroom Approach is a prime example of how Adaptive Learning Technologies can be integrated into a more modern lesson model. Teachers can assign adaptive online activities or modules as pre-class assignments, allowing students to engage with the content and practice independently. In-class time can then be utilised for more interactive and collaborative activities, such as discussions, group work, or application of learned concepts.

What are the psychological benefits of Adaptive Learning Technologies?

As well as practical support, Adaptive Learning Technologies bring clear benefits to the learners on a psychological level. They can:

  • increase confidence: Adaptive systems provide personalised feedback and support, which can enhance learners’ confidence. Immediate feedback on correct answers and guidance on incorrect ones help students build their language skills and develop a sense of achievement, boosting their self-confidence in the language-learning process.
  • reduce anxiety: Language learning can be accompanied by anxiety, especially when learners feel overwhelmed or struggle to keep up with the pace of instruction. Adaptive Learning Technologies alleviate some of this anxiety by adapting the difficulty level to match individual proficiency, providing a less stressful and more manageable learning experience.
  • give a sense of control: Adaptive Learning Technologies empower learners by allowing them to have more control over their learning journey. Students can set their own goals, track their progress, and choose learning materials that interest them. This sense of control fosters a positive psychological state and encourages learners to take ownership of their language acquisition process.
  • provide continuous learning support: Adaptive systems offer continuous support and guidance throughout the learning process. Learners receive immediate feedback on their performance, which helps them identify and correct errors. This ongoing support creates a supportive learning environment and reduces feelings of frustration or discouragement.

Let’s meet some Adaptive Learning Technologies

Here are just a few examples of the adaptive learning tools available for online English teaching. Each tool has its own unique features and methodologies for adapting the learning experience to meet the needs of individual learners.

Duolingo is a popular language-learning platform that utilises adaptive learning techniques. It offers personalised lessons, tracks individual progress, and provides targeted exercises based on learners’ strengths and weaknesses.

Rosetta Stone is another well-known language-learning program that incorporates adaptive learning. It provides interactive lessons, speech recognition, and personalised feedback to help learners improve their English skills.

Babbel is an online language-learning platform that uses adaptive technology to tailor lessons to learners’ needs. It focuses on practical language skills and provides personalised exercises and quizzes based on individual progress.

Memrise is a language-learning app that employs adaptive learning methods. It uses spaced repetition and personalised review sessions to help learners memorise vocabulary and improve their language skills.

Voxy is an adaptive English learning platform that offers personalised lessons and content based on learners’ goals, interests, and proficiency levels. It uses real-life situations and authentic materials to enhance language acquisition.

OpenAI’s GPT-3 is not exclusively an adaptive learning tool, but it can be used to create adaptive learning experiences. It can generate personalised content, provide feedback, and offer interactive exercises tailored to individual learners.

In a nutshell

Whether you consider it a friend or a foe, technology is here to stay. Adaptive Learning Technologies in online English teaching can help teachers adapt the content of their lesson and deliver them at a pace that best suits the learners, providing them with support based on their individual needs, progress, interests and preferred learning methods. Their goal is to promote and facilitate a more meaningful and effective learning environment by creating a more personalised learning experience.

Leave a Comment