HarvardX, a Harvard University strategic initiative, is running a massive open online course (MOOC) featuring adaptive learning and assessment algorithms, which tailor course material in response to student performance.

Adaptive learning functionality–never before offered in a HarvardX course and featured in a few courses across the edX online learning platform–has been deployed in Super-Earths and Life, instructed by Harvard’s Phillips Professor of Astronomy Dimitar Sasselov. The effort aims to gain a preliminary assessment of the technological feasibility and implications of adaptive functionality to online course design.

“Adaptive learning programs are very good at speeding up information acquisition and lengthening retention,...

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