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Adaptive Learning Technology Enables Biblical Education From Anywhere

by | May 9, 2016 | Education |

My wife and I are opposites when it comes to technology. She isn’t a Luddite, but she only wants technology that has a clear benefit such as saving her time and energy. Plus, she wants it to work “auto-magically”—which means someone like me sets it up to work every time in a way that seems like magic! I, on the other hand, am attracted to all new technology and want to try it out regardless of whether it has a clear use or not.

I believe educational technology needs to fall somewhere in between the way my wife and I approach it. Technologies need to bring clear benefits or potential benefits to help professors teach more effectively or to enhance students’ ability to learn.

Right now a buzzword in educational technology is “adaptive learning.” I am excited about the potential this technology can bring to the core curriculum at DCC: the Bible.

We have students come to DCC with a vast range of Biblical knowledge and understanding. One student may be able to quote Psalm 23 while another may not know how to find the passage. Our job is to help them all gain a deep knowledge of Scripture and the ability to interpret it. But how do we do that when they start from such different places?

That is where adaptive technology has the potential to bring a direct benefit to our students. It uses a combination of computer algorithms, memory science and the expertise of our professors to create a system that takes a student from wherever they are physically to the point of meeting the learning objectives of a course. It creates a personalized learning environment that complements what happens in the classroom and helps the student learn on any connected device. For example, the system I am reviewing sends me a message on my phone telling me it is time to review specific material. Amazing, right?

This has huge potential—and it may just be auto-magical!


Bruce Long is director of institutional effectiveness and dean of non-traditional programs at Dallas Christian College.

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