TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Adaptive Learning in China: A Mission and Personal Journey
Jeff Wang, Ph.D.
February 9, 2016
Jeff Wang has over a decade of educational research and management experience in the U.S. In this talk, he will share his ideas, findings, and challenges from his personal experience in introducing adaptive learning to everyday K12 education in China. A mission and personal journey, Jeff’s work on adaptive learning in China offers a great lens to making sense of China’s complex education systems, its emerging Edtech industry, and its venture capital world.
The Edtech industry in China has been growing exponentially in the past three years. The total number of online education users reached 110 million in 2015, accounting for 16% of China’s Internet users. Over $1.2 billion was invested in China’s Edtech companies in the first three quarters of 2015, representing approximately one third of global investments in the industry.
As big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence are increasingly used across various industries, the prospect of educational applications of such advanced technologies has attracted great attention of education researchers, practitioners, and investors. Adaptive learning, along with education data mining and learning analytics, are among the latest technology advancements in education. These new technologies have great potential in fundamentally changing how people learn by taking advantage of machines’ capacity in processing vast amounts of learning data.
The challenges, however, are enormous. The materialization of adaptive learning technologies requires substantial R&D resources and investment. Although much research has been done on adaptive learning in the U.S., no empirical research has ever been done on its application in China’s vast and complex education systems. Research is also needed to examine the conditions and implications of effective adaptive learning for different subject areas, grade levels, student population, etc.
Jeff and his team are on the forefront of China’s adaptive learning field and the Edtech industry. They have successfully developed China’s first truly adaptive learning engine with advanced algorithms. They have also gathered first-hand experience and collected valuable data through the implementation of its adaptive learning system in Chinese public schools and tutoring centers. The team employs rigorous design research methods to guide the development and refinement of its adaptive learning products, and to solve complex problems of integrating adaptive learning into everyday education.