What every e-Learning system needs – an intelligent algorithm


There are many components that go into making great e-Learning. Ultimately the measure of greatness of an e-Learning program, or any learning program, should be a direct reflection of the level of improvement in educational outcomes as a result of the program.

As we all know every child has different needs, progresses at a different speed and has different support networks they rely on. Therefore a key factor to look for in an e-Learning system, if you want to get real results, is whether it can be personalised to each child and their learning needs. This is commonly achieved by built in algorithms within the software.

A good e-Learning program will give every child the optimal curriculum regardless of his or her actual age. Presenting the child with just the right question at precisely the right time is the hallmark of a great e-Learning program.  It should pre-test the child and then continue to reassess after each game/level. This provides a unique pathway for each child, which fully accounts for individual strengths and weaknesses. Ideally a blend of new content; not yet mastered content; and revision content should be used in the programme.

However e-Learning programs work best when there is full involvement and support from teachers, parents and peers. We all know there are certain moments when a child is most receptive to feedback, praise and support. Finding a system that will intervene at precisely those moments is key! Immediate feedback and support from parents and teachers aids self-learning, the most powerful form of learning there is.

Creating an even larger fan base for children which might include grandparents, siblings or cousins who can also be involved in the e-Learning system and actively take part cannot only encourage children but build stronger relationships. And let’s not forget how competitiveness amongst peers can also motivate children to learn.

Data is also vital here to allow monitoring by teachers and parents of specific strengths and weaknesses of individual children. This can become invaluable at progress meetings/ parents evenings where both the teacher and parents can easily recognise great achievements by the child but equally can be alerted to areas where support and guidance is needed.

I believe learning apps that do not share a child’s results with the teacher and parents are limiting their educational benefit by at least 50%. Sadly, of the more than 10,000 learning apps available for the iPad there are only a handful that share their data with teachers and parents.

Shane Hill, Founder of Skoolbo and Mathletics

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