While weighing the pros and cons of linear learning vs. adaptive technology, it’s important to keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all type method for approaching the student learning experience. Learning needs and student performance of an individual, regardless of their age and location on their educational journey – from elementary learning to higher education, depends on the particular learning model that is best suited for them. A students’ respective learning path can be influenced by their anticipated learning outcomes, preferred instructional methods, is usually facilitated by the learning environments they find most comfortable and hinges on the amount of time a student is willing to dedicate to their studies.

At ExamMatrix, we’ve found there are two primary learning processes related to the way students engage with Exam Reviews. “Traditional learners” absorb information in a more linear fashion. This type of learning may be useful in that in most cases a student’s learning begins in the linear learning style – a style of education that is most often implemented by most educational programs from K-12. However, in recent years, we’ve seen the rise of “adaptive learning technology” infiltrating the education space. Adaptive learning allow students to modify their linear learning processes in such a way that assists the individual in saving study time. By relying on the adaptive learning system to guide their learning process toward the information they need to focus on, students can avoid wasting time studying the materials they are already familiar with.

Which type of learner are you?

Let us know in the comments!

Liz Kolar: Spoiler alert: there is no definite answer for which style is best – but if you’re willing to take a less traditional study route, adaptive learning can save most students a ton of time.

Deciding whether one should learn in a linear sense or by using adaptive technologies depends on the style that helps individuals learn best. People absorb information in a variety of ways.

Maybe your style is more on the “traditional” side.  Linear learning is how most educational programs operate. This type of learning is a step-by-step process where a student starts from “step one” and moves to each subsequent step as they master the one prior.

While this trajectory is useful for building knowledge starting at a foundational level, it may not be as useful for the student who has a grasp of the fundamentals. This type of learning could waste valuable study time for someone who needs to focus more on nuanced topics.

Adaptive learning might better suit the student who doesn’t need to follow a step-by-step education process.

Adaptive software technologies are extremely beneficial for the student who already has an understanding of a portion of the material but may be unsure of what information to focus on. The software uses diagnostic evaluation methods to gauge your understanding in the desired areas of study.

After interpreting your data, the adaptive technology determines your level of comprehension of each respective study area and recommends what information you should focus on. Adaptive technology has the potential to save you hours of study time by allowing you to focus time and energy on the areas you’re least familiar with.

Determining which style is best is entirely up to your preferences, but if you’re the type of person that wouldn’t mind saving around 100 hours of study time per section – adaptive learning might be best for you.


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