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Adaptive and Montessori Learning Explained for Teachers

Is adaptive learning the solution to today's education ? But what is adaptive learning after all ? These were the two questions that were buzzing in my head after I watched Ken Robinson's latest appearance in an interview with the Time reporter Luscombe. In his response to a question on the possible solution for today's education crisis, Ken said that the answer is individualized and tailored learning. This answer got me thinking about the possible connection between indizidualized learning and adaptive learning.


Adaptive learning is a learning approach, and education method that foregrounds technology as " interactive teaching devices". It is a tech enabled learning model that adapts technology to the learning needs of students. The purpose behind this approach is to offer a tailored learning that transforms learners from mere receptors of education to collaborative and active participants in their own learning.

The adaptive learning approach is not something new, It has been around for almost a 100 years. It was first developed by the Italian education theorist Maria Montessori. Maria, believing that every learner is uniquely different from the others, she theorised for an education model that focuses on development needs of kids. Some of the principles of her education approach are that :

  • Students learn best their individual learning needs are catered for
  • Teacher 's feedback on students progress should be customized to each learner
  • Students learn best when they compete with themseves and not with each other.



Adaptive learning is built upon the key precepts posited by Montessori and hence the interconnectedness between the two approaches. In other words, adaptive learning is nothing else but the integration of technology into Montessori education appraoch.

Here is a wonderful graphic on the difference between Montessori ( adaptive learning ) and Mainstream education.


Source: Children's Workshop

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