APLU Grant

The University of Louisville is one of eight land-grant institutions awarded the Accelerating Learning Courseware at Public Research Universities Grant

In August 2016, the University of Louisville received a $515,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) along with 7 other institutions (Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Colorado State University, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Georgia State University, and University of Mississippi).

Adaptive learning is a method of personalized learning, where content delivery and assessment are adapted to meet students’ unique needs and abilities, similar to a one-on-one tutor. As a tool, adaptive learning courseware uses learning analytics to modify the presentation of course material in response to student performance, providing appropriate levels of challenge to help students master content. Adaptive courseware can represent a form of blended learning, where some percentage of classroom sear time can be replaced by online work conducted at the student’s personal pace and at the appropriate degree of difficulty.

The grant’s goal was to accelerate and scale the university’s implementation of adaptive courseware to 15-20% (8,300-11,078 enrollments) of our annual undergraduate enrollments (55,391) in core introductory courses. The intended outcome was to increase the rate of students completing courses with a C or better and lower the rate of students who receive a D, an F, or withdraw from these courses.

At the end of the grant period on June 30, 2020, we:

  • Exceeded the grant requirements,
  • Reached 24.6% of our annual enrollment (13,607 enrollments 2019-2020 Academic Year), and
  • Used adaptive courseware in 57 courses, 22 disciplines, and with 86 faculty.

After the four year grant period, we have found that the use of adaptive courseware can:

  • Reduce DFW rates (especially in STEM courses)
  • Close achievement gaps
  • Improve the success of students in later courses (subsequent and second-semester math and engineering courses)
  • Lower the cost of course materials by switching to digital materials and leveraging the number of enrollments for publisher products or using software with open resources

Students have told us:

  • They are happy with using courseware and acknowledge its benefits (from a variety of sources, including surveys, focus groups, and teaching evaluations)
  • Courseware improves accessibility by working with assistive technologies such as screen readers and by providing access to course materials outside of class and on their mobile devices
  • For students to engage with the courseware, it must count toward their grade.

FAQs

  • Click to Show/HideWhat is Adaptive Learning Courseware?

    Adaptive learning is a method of personalized learning, where content delivery and assessment are adapted to meet students’ unique needs and abilities, similar to a one-on-one tutor. As a tool, adaptive learning courseware uses learning analytics to modify the presentation of course material in response to student performance, providing appropriate levels of challenge to help students master content. Adaptive courseware can represent a form of blended learning, where some percentage of classroom sear time can be replaced by online work conducted at the student’s personal pace and at the appropriate degree of difficulty.

  • Click to Show/HideI have heard of active learning, is this the same idea/pedagogy?

    Adaptive Learning is its own pedagogical technique but is very closely related to active learning. In fact, much of the discussion involving adaptive learning is centered around active learning concepts. Using adaptive learning courseware for content delivery and personal study outside the classroom frees up more time for active learning activities in class. You can learn more about active learning here.

  • Click to Show/HideHow do I learn more?

    We are always available to meet with faculty and to discuss the benefits of courseware for both students and faculty. Contact Jen Anderson, Director of the Teaching and Learning Lab (TILL) to find out how we can support your implementation.



Photo of Gale Rhodes, Ed.D.
Photo of Marie Kendall Brown, Ph.D.
Photo of Jen Anderson, Ph.D.
  • Jen Anderson, Ph.D.
  • Co-PI and Program Director
  • Teaching Innovation Learning Lab (TILL)
  • 502.852.8503
Photo of Ryan Luke, Ph.D.
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