Dr. Sonwalkar describes the term "Pedagogy." The term does not refer to presentation of content with evaluation and few information bits. He explains that the pedagogy is the process of presenting content in the context of learning strategies that connect with a cognitive process. It now generally refers to creation of effective lesson plan for classroom instruction and online education.

In this video, Dr. Nish Sonwalkar (Sc.D, MIT) explains the term "Andragogy" in reference to the term "Pedagogy."

The andragogy refers to process of engaging adults in a structured learning environment. The adults have preexisting learning process and preferences as compared to children who are trying to find a learning strategy.

The term "Adragogy" was coined by Alexander Kapp in 1833 by a German philosopher but more recently used and popularized by Malcolm Knowles to describe the theory of adult learning. Andragogy comes from Greek term Andre = man and Egogy = art of learning. Art of learning for adult man is Andragogy. The Malcolm Knowles insisted that the higher education be termed as Andragogy not Pedagogy. Andragogy states that the adult learners are autonomous self directed learners with teachers and professors as the facilitators.

In this video, Dr. Nish Sonwalkar explains the difference between learning styles and learning strategy, and present argument that for success of adaptive learning we need learning strategies not learning styles.

The adaptive learning systems need learning strategies where the content is presented with a cognitive learning process. The research suggests learning styles do not have strong correlation for higher success of online learning, buy the learning strategies do show strong correlation to the success of Adaptive Learning Systems.

In this video, Dr. Nish Sonwalkar explains Bloom's taxonomy, its use and need for new taxonomy for adaptive learning systems.

Benjamin Bloom chaired a committee in 1956 to come up with taxonomy that will categorize the learning objectives for the courses. The important contribution was to include three factors in the learning objective -- cognitive, affective and psychomotor activities to reach a given learning objective. The taxonomy included a set of verbs or an action items that required teachers to design their lessons and instruction to include all three learning modalities -- knowing, feeling and doing.

There have been several revisions and additions to the Bloom's taxonomy, but it is perhaps one of the most influential taxonomy used widely by the instructional designer and cur m designer in k-12

References: Bloom, B.S. (1956) "The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The classification of educational goals, Hand Book 1: Cognitive Domain" Longman, New York Sonwalkar, N. (2004) "Changing the Interface of Education," Amazon Direct Publishing,

The current course assessment depends on few mid-terms and a final paper or exam. This system does not encourage learning but cramming. Dr. Sonwalkar present an alternative model of continuous assessment based on concept mastery where learning is at the center of course delivery.

In this video segment Dr. Nish Sonwalkar (Sc.D., MIT) explains fundamental principles that guide excellence in personalized adaptive education:

  1. One-size-fits-all does not work for online education.
  2. Information is not education -- the current web based learning is creating information overload.
  3. Learning requires a cognitive process along with multi-media content.
  4. Individuals not only learn differently but they also learn different content in different learning strategy.
  5. Every individual has a learning strategy based on cognitive development and a learning pace to digest new leaning content.
  6. Individualized learning is the only way to reach higher completion rates and faster learning.
  7. Learning is four dimensional which includes -- multimedia, cognitive strategies, interactivity and social learning.
  8. The only meaningful assessment is one that helps learner improve and reach desired competency.
  9. Anyone can reach learning competency with right learning strategy and pace of learning.
  10. The best role of instructors is to guide students on how to learn not just what to learn.

In this video segment Dr. Nish Sonwalkar (Sc.D., MIT) explains the difference between intelligent tutors and the adaptive learning systems.

The intelligent tutors were created in early 1980, at the time when artificial intelligence was in fashion. The AI was based on rule based systems where certain rules were created based on the expert knowledge to provide feedback in real time. So the tutors normally were very domain specific.

For example math tutors where fed with a knowledge representation for the domain of math with expert rules that were fired when a learner was doing a mathematical task. Based on the answers of a given task subsequent scenario were presented. Each scenario steps led to certain rules that provided led to inference by the intelligent tutor to provide certain feedback or practice test.

By repeated task and feedback intelligent tutors were able to provide reasonable response to each mistake made by the used in their understanding of the mathematical concept. While tutors worked well for a specific domain that was deterministic in nature they failed in areas where there were no correct deterministic answers. Because, there were no if-then-else rules that you could fire in an area like interpretation of poetry.

The Adaptive Learning Systems on the other had represent knowledge in distinct cognitive pathways such as apprentice, incidental, inductive deductive and discovery -- providing same content in a different contextual framework thereby providing significant cognitive opportunity to learn. Also in the education adaptive learning systems the feedback is given in a different learning pathway to provide another perspective on the same problem.

Therefore, the an authentic adaptive learning systems is not domain specific and can provide better learning for both scientific disciplines with deterministic answers to domains where the answers are more based interpretation style and there no correct answer.

In this video segment Dr. Nish Sonwalkar (Sc.D., MIT) provides difference between Adaptive Testing and Adaptive Learning.

Most often the adaptive learning is confused with the adaptive testing. The adaptive testing is a method in which the difficulty level of questions is adjusted continuously to ascertain the competency level of a learner.

The questions are posed to the learner, on a given subject matter, with known level of difficulty, say medium level of difficulty and if the student answers questions correctly then the difficulty level is increased. The level of difficulty is increased in each questions posed until the learner starts not answering questions. Then the difficulty level is reduced. By going over several related subject matter areas after sufficient number of questions/answer sessions a score is calculated for the student and then he is put on a percentile basis on the scale by the adaptive testing agency who already have a corpus of normalized data with percentile distribution.

Most of the testing agencies for aptitude testing use adaptive testing, such as, GRE, GMAT, SAT etc. In adaptive testing based adaptive learning systems the content level of difficulty and explanation is varied based on the question/answer set. However in such systems there is no distinct pedagogy that is used for the variation of content presentation to the user for cognitive opportunity enhancement.

In true, adaptive learning system, first requirement is to have a pedagogical framework for the presentation of content in three or more learning paths and then there is assessment engine that will provide continuous feedback and rotation of learners through the learning path to reach a desired competency level with desired learning outcome.

Hence most of the claims made by the adaptive learning systems that are purely based on adaptive testing do not provide sufficient distinction of content in terms of cognitive learning strategies to be termed as adaptive learning systems. We need to dispel the myth that adaptive testing based content presentation systems are adaptive systems and do not match with the learning preference of the individual learners.