HealthApril 09, 2017

92% of nursing students who have used adaptive learning love it

So why is adaptive learning so popular for both nursing students and instructors? Read on!

Ever since Lippincott first introduced adaptive learning to nursing education in 2009, students and teachers haven't been able to get enough of it. Overwhelmingly, 92% of students who have used Lippincott CoursePoint or Lippincott PassPoint cite the mobile-friendly adaptive quizzing, along with its real-time reporting and personalized remediation, as their favorite way to study.

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How adaptive learning works

Adaptive learning is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices, and allocates of human and mediated resources according to the unique needs of each learner.

Adaptive learning in nursing education provides an individualized approach to nursing students and their instructors. Using a digital adaptive learning solution has proven more effective than the traditional learning model. That traditional model of summative testing involves all students receiving the same questions and only at limited points during the course. In contrast, the adaptive model uses formative assessments frequently throughout the course. Both students and faculty receive cumulative, on-going, and individualized feedback about user performance.

Once a student's specific strengths and weaknesses have been identified via adaptive learning in the classroom, the student has the opportunity to work toward a higher level of mastery on those topics where they are struggling. An adaptive learning model for nursing education provides a low-stakes environment in which students can practice and learn at the own pace. Targeted authentic practice leads to increased student success.

Benefits of adaptive learning

Based on authentic research of educational methods and clinical techniques, adaptive learning effectively pinpoints challenging levels of content needed for individual students. Students take practice quizzes that are adaptive; content is adapted to each level of understanding. In this way, no students have the exact same learning experience.

Focusing specifically on adaptive learning for nurses, many nursing programs use standardized testing to implement benchmark scores and determine whether or not a student is eligible to sit for the NCLEX. But standardized tests only report on summative data; they do little to improve a student's testing performance over time, or to keep students engaged and instill in them a desire to learn and improve.

recent journal article in Nurse Educator found that the use of adaptive learning systems increased course content mastery and predicted final course grades. Retention and program completion rates were also positively influenced.

Wolters Kluwer turned to academic researchers and nursing faculty who conducted scientific research and controlled case studies on adaptive learning solutions, and gathered feedback from current users, analyzing over 30 case studies that showed consistent, positive results in these main areas:

  • Improved mastery of course content
  • Higher NCLEC-RN outcomes
  • Better patient-centered learning experiences

Adaptive learning also benefits nursing instructors; they can track class data to gauge the level of understanding. It provides better insight into student performance while there is still time to adapt.

Evolution of the NCLEX

Adaptive learning has exploded in recent years, particularly since the NCLEX went digital in 1994.

As more students went online for their education, the demand for a computer-based testing system became more obvious. The first NCLEX administered via Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT) took place on April 1, 1994. CAT combines computer technology with modern measurement theory to increase the exam's efficiency. It determines what questions will come next on the exam based on how well the student has performed up to that point. The better the student does, the fewer questions he/she will have to answer to pass the NCLEX. The adaptive CAT allowed nursing candidates to test on their own time, at their own pace and with cutting-edge technology.

Here's how it works:

  1. Every time you answer an item, the computer re-estimates your ability based on all the previous answers and the difficulty of those items.
  2. The computer then selects the next item that you should have a 50% chance of answering correctly.
    • This way, the next item should not be too easy or too hard
    • The computer's goal is to get as much information as possible about your true ability level
    • You should find each item challenging as each item is targeted to your ability
  3. With each item answered, the computer's estimate of your ability becomes more precise.

By the end of 1994, more than 155,000 nurse candidates took the NCLEX via this adaptive technology system, and that number has risen steadily ever since. Then, in 2011, it was announced that the NCLEX-RN would be used as a licensure requirement in Canada starting in 2015, and that the NCLEX exam would be given via CAT there, as well.

What are adaptive learning systems that work?

When it comes to adaptive learning for nurses, adaptive quizzing systems are a game changer.

Wolters Kluwer's adaptive quizzing systemPrepU, helps students learn more and gives instructors the data they need to monitor each student's progress, weaknesses and strengths. PrepU is a central component of Lippincott CoursePoint and Lippincott PassPoint, and has vast power to increase student retention and engagement. It is also now linked to the following measureable results, according to Nurse Educator:

  • The mastery level in PrepU adaptive quizzing can statistically significantly predict final course grades
  • Adaptive mastery level is positively correlated to a student's Exit Exam performance
  • Programs utilizing PrepU adaptive quizzing saw a significant positive increase in on-time graduation (11.4% increase) and program retention rate (5.5% increase) over five years
  • 82.8% of students reported that PrepU adaptive quizzing improved their course performance; 87.9% prefer it to preset test banks, and 98.3% would opt to use it in other courses if available
  • 93.9% of students using PrepU adaptive quizzing in the study passed the NCLEX

The research finds that a low-stakes, formative learning strategy such as PrepU adaptive quizzing can “pay off significantly with respect to high-stakes educational outcomes and reduce the likelihood of course failure and repetition."

Meanwhile, Lippincott CoursePoint is a fully integrated, adaptive, digital course solution for nursing education. Designed to help students understand, retain, and apply course knowledge, Lippincott CoursePoint works the way students study and learn. Digital text content, adaptive learning powered by PrepU, and interactive course resources like videos and animations, are thoughtfully integrated at the moment students need them to provide content in context.

Significant findings show that preparation instead of just prediction are effective and targeted, authentic practice leads to increase student success.

Need more convincing that our adaptive learning solutions can help your students?

Learn how Lippincott PassPoint, powered by PrepU adaptive learning, can help students develop a deeper understanding of critical NCLEX client needs and evidence-based thinking.

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