New adaptive tech tool for deeper learning

Arizona State University adopts platform for use in math courses beginning fall 2015.

adaptive-learningA new tool from McGraw-Hill Education aims to help college students and educators learn in an adaptive and personalized environment.

Connect Master is a personalized, complete course digital solution for college students and instructors. It provides an adaptive, immersive environment where students can show their work and get real-time feedback at every step of the problem-solving process, allowing for a deeper understanding of concepts beyond a single right or wrong answer, says the company.

Connect Master joins the company’s family of adaptive products including the LearnSmart suite and ALEKS.

“Preparing students for success in college and the workforce is our biggest priority, and one of the best ways to enable that success is to help students develop a conceptual understanding of what they’re learning in their courses,” said Philip Regier, university dean for educational initiatives at Arizona State University.

(Next page: Features of Connect Master)

“Math can be one of the most challenging subjects to master, and it’s easy for students to lose confidence in their abilities and fall behind,” said Stephen Laster, chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education. “Connect Master allows students to show their work and receive real-time feedback, allowing for a deeper conceptual understanding beyond getting the correct answer, which ultimately encourages critical thinking and boosts student confidence.”

Supporters of adaptive technologies say they help students study more effectively and efficiently by continually responding to their needs and focusing their attention on what they need to learn the most, at precisely the time they need to learn it.

By understanding each student’s unique learning style, Connect Master delivers customized, interactive resources to help every student build stronger connections and achieve a deeper level of conceptual knowledge thereby boosting student confidence and improving learning outcomes, says the company. The solution will initially be available for mathematics, economics and composition courses with other subjects to follow.

“Connect Master is the product of years of research into how students approach and navigate the problem-solving process. One of the key things we learned is that not only are there many ways to solve a problem, there are multiple ways just to get from one step to another,” said Ulrik Juul Christensen, M.D., senior fellow of digital learning at McGraw-Hill Education. “Connect Master represents a breakthrough in helping students achieve mastery on a deep conceptual level by honoring these different pathways and providing guidance and support through each part of the process.”

Connect Master features technology-enabled tools that can measure confidence and fatigue, as well as deliver customized content and questions to keep students engaged, noted the company. Features include:

  • A personal learning coach that provides real-time feedback
  • Videos with real-world scenarios that solidify conceptual understanding
  • A variety of question structures, such as multiple choice, matching, drag and drop to increase engagement, reduce student
  • fatigue and encourage longer periods of study time
  • An interactive “kaleidoscope” tool that shows math concepts in a variety of ways to build connections between different representations and real world applications
  • Metacognition probes measure students confidence in their answers, which helps recognize retention, fatigue and provides a more nuanced view into mastery of the subject
  • Spanish videos for economics that help native Spanish speakers understand core economic concepts

Arizona State University will adopt Connect Master in some of its mathematics coursework starting in the Fall 2015 semester.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione

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