eXtension awards grant for developing adaptive learning techniques

The eXtension Foundation has identified nine projects that will be funded as part of its 2015 Innovation Request for Proposals. Forty-eight proposals were submitted, and nine were awarded for the granting period of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. Grantees will be required to engage in face-to-face meetings with the eXtension Foundation to gauge impact, conduct at least one professional development session on the project, and make a presentation at the 2016 National eXtension Conference next March.

Gwyn Shelle, Alan Pilkenton, Dawn Earnesty, Ellen Darnall and Erin Powell submitted the proposal “Building Personalized Learning Experiences for Adult Learners Through Adaptive Learning Techniques,” for which they have been awarded the grant. This project will evaluate and pilot adaptive learning tools for future Cooperative Extension programming. Adaptive learning refers to a nonlinear approach to instruction that adjusts to student needs as they progress through course content – resulting in a customized experience for the learner based on prior knowledge.

The team of experts will research several existing adaptive learning tools and consult with experts in the field of online learning who are currently implementing adaptive learning into their programming. They will design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing Michigan State University Extension online courses through several selected pilot projects. Specific objectives of the project include:

  • Increase knowledge of adaptive learning tools through research and collaboration with leaders in the field of online learning who are investing in adaptive learning tools. Many adaptive learning tools will be assessed and ranked based on potential use within Cooperative Extension Services programming.
  • Design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing online courses through several selected pilot projects. Online focus groups will be administered to receive qualitative feedback on the effectiveness of the adaptive learning method.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the adaptive learning activities through online evaluations, retention rates compared to traditional online content, and general course data.

This grant will go a long way toward helping MSU Extension reach our audiences in new ways, and we’re excited to see where it goes!

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