2015_12_I/ITSEC_Development and Evaluation of Mobile Adaptive Training Technologies
This research involves development and evaluation of adaptive training strategies. The current prototype mobile training technology was designed to include an adaptive feature within one instructional cycle (at the Terminal Objective or Module level). Based on pre-assessment questions, the learner’s sequence within the instructional cycle will be adapted accordingly. Should certain learning objectives be considered mastered via determined pre-requisite knowledge, those associated lessons will be collapsed in the curriculum yet accessible if desired by the learner. Additionally, after completing a lesson, the learner can receive guidance from the system if he or she answers the intermittent assessment item (Check on Learning) incorrectly and is also prompted to return to the lesson content should the guidance not assist the learner in answering the assessment item. To examine the effectiveness of the adaptive training, we conducted an experiment to compare students receiving the adaptive version of the prototype (i.e., treatment condition) versus those receiving the non-adaptive version (i.e., control condition). Specifically, participants were compared on the following dimensions: learner reactions; training efficiency; and training effectiveness. On learner reactions, we found some preliminary descriptive evidence that participants in the treatment condition were more engaged and held more favorable perceptions of the training adaptability than those in the control condition but the difference was not statistically significant. Evidence on the potential unintended negative consequences of the adaptive training was inconclusive. On training efficiency, we found the adaptive training to be more efficient than its non-adaptive counterpart, as expected. On training effectiveness, participants in the treatment condition performed as well as their counterparts in the control condition on an independent hands-on performance test. Our findings are encouraging but highlight the need to continue robust research in tandem with the development and integration of new technologies in order to realize the full potential of adaptive training.