Adaptive Learning: The driver for the schools of the future
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Adaptive Learning: The driver for the schools of the future

Adaptive Learning: The driver for the schools of the future

Adaptive Learning uses AI to adjust educational content to students learning style and pace


As teachers and administrators strive to improve student performance and graduation rates, they’re increasingly leveraging new Educational Technology (EdTech) to deliver a higher quality learning experience. To gain a competitive advantage, EdTech market players are integrating advanced technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and Blockchain that are set to be the largest revenue contributors to the education sector in the coming years.

In the UAE, 1.2 million school and university students started their e-learning journey a year ago with the onset of the pandemic, which has fueled the surge of EdTech startups.

The EdTech sector has been gaining significant momentum, leading to an acceleration of investments in 2020. For instance, the regional EdTech companies raised almost $4m in March last year. Also, according to Report Linker, the EdTech and smart classroom market in the Middle East and Africa region is expected to reach $1m by 2027 with a CAGR of 9.8 per cent from 2020 to 2027.

Meanwhile, GCC governments have been digitising the education sector by integrating multiple Arab educational resources on websites, platforms and applications, in collaboration with EdTech experts, for students and teachers to access.

However, despite the EdTech innovations, the traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach to education fails to make the grade as student populations are increasingly diverse in terms of culture, location, economic background, and learning styles. Educators are increasingly aware that not everyone can absorb the lesson plan in the same way, and that teaching needs to be more personalised to the individual student. To provide a more personalised learning experience to students, while ensuring adherence to government performance standards, educators are turning to ‘Adaptive Learning’ systems.

Adaptive Learning for a more personalised student learning experience
Adaptive Learning uses computer artificial intelligence algorithms that adjust the educational content to the student’s learning style and pace. Based upon a student’s reaction to content, algorithms detect patterns and respond in real-time with prompts, revisions, and interventions based upon the student’s unique needs and abilities. Combining Adaptive Learning platforms with predictive analytics and other EdTech applications helps to transform the learning experience for both the student and the teacher.

Although Adaptive Learning is a departure from traditional teaching methods, educators expect that it will soon become the new norm, with courses adapted around the unique needs of every student.

Education networks need to evolve
Adaptive Learning platforms and EdTech digital applications tend to be bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive. When combined with other district network demands like online assessments, video surveillance, and student information systems, they can quickly overwhelm the network and impact the student and teacher ability to access the resources they need.

To better support the increasingly digital learning applications, education networks need to evolve in multiple ways. Some of the pitfalls include the fact that education networks still tend to involve fixed, static capacity that requires onerous cycle times to expand or contract as network needs fluctuate. Also, network configurations tend to aggregate individual campus internet and cloud connectivity needs through a centralised district data centre rather than directly connecting to each campus. Lastly, network management tends to be reactive and involve manual processes requiring human engagement at each step.

These issues combine to make education networks static, inflexible, costly, and inefficient. To support new Adaptive Learning and EdTech applications, education networks must evolve to become faster, closer, smarter, and safer.

In a nutshell, education networks need to become more adaptive.

Adaptive Network benefits to education
The Adaptive Network enables software-based automation and control to deliver more flexible “bandwidth-on-demand” services that make it easier to quickly scale bandwidth capacity up and down as needed.

Additionally, predictive analytics enable proactive identification of potential sources of congestion and outage, and software-based control helps avoid them without requiring human intervention.

Replacing multiple physical network devices with universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) that hosts virtualised network functions enables remote management and troubleshooting, thereby reducing cost and complexity.

It’s crucial to move Adaptive Learning and EdTech applications and compute power closer to the edge, where content is created and consumed, to significantly reduce latency and potential sources of congestion, which helps ensure a high quality of experience for both students and teachers.

Adaptive Learning and EdTech innovations are the future of education and as remote learning continues to be a reality in most countries, students and teachers will only benefit from being able to personalise learning courses and modules around how students prefer and need to learn.

Pete Hall is head of Ciena for Middle East and Africa region and subsea sales in EMEA


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