The diagram to the right is similar to those used by other education technology organizations so it's not unique to the Gates Foundation. The key components in most any Adaptive Learning System or Instructional Improvement System are Student Data, Educational Content and Assessments. We use precise definitions of these:
- Learning Objectives are specific competencies to be learned in a particular subject domain. Most courses, both online and legacy media, start with a set of learning objectives. However, if data, content and assessment systems are to interoperate, a common set of objectives must be shared among them.
- Student Data is a collection of evidence of what competencies or skills a student has achieved. On a scale of weak to strong evidence, it includes presence information (the student attended a class), activity information (the student viewed a particular video or performed a lab) and assessment results.
- Learning Content includes reading materials, textbooks, interactive activities, lesson plans, exercises and any other content that's intended to teach about a subject.
- Assessments are student activities that are instrumented in such a way that we can measure competence in knowledge or skills. You can think of multiple choice and true/false as activities that are deliberately simplified to make them easier to instrument. However, assessment technology is advancing in ways that make it possible to instrument more realistic activities.
Posts in this series:
Breaking the Tyranny of the Bell Curve
Tackling Bloom's Two Sigma Problem
The Personalized Learning Model