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On August 5th, 2019, the Adaptive Learning Prototype project launched its first pilot class at five 7th grade math classes at the Olympia Schools in Hanoi. The Adaptive Learning Prototype project is funded by DIFD and implemented by the Education Commission and Arizona State University. The pilot run at the Olympia Schools addresses the major challenges of Vietnam’s STEM education workforce by re-thinking and re-designing the current education workforce to integrate adaptive learning approaches. Adaptive learning encompasses both integrating personalized learning methods and technologies into lesson plans and learning environments.

Project staff and teachers discuss ways to utilize active learning approach

Through the hybrid “High-Touch, High-Tech” adaptive learning model developed by ASU experts, Vietnamese educators in the pilot were prepared to facilitate each student through the ALEKS computer-based personalized learning process. 

According to Ms. Dang Thu Huong, Vice Principal, The Olympia Schools, ALEKS plays a role as a close friend of the 7th-grade math teachers and students at the school. The compatible curriculum and timely support for students helped them improve their computing skills significantly, increasing their interest in learning math.

“For teachers, ALEKS is a great teaching support tool, teachers can accurately monitor the learning process of each student at home, thereby providing the best orientation for teaching and learning in class,” Ms. Huong shared.

Students at The Olympia Schools do the ALEKS Initial Knowledge Check

At the beginning of each pilot class, the teachers conducted the ALEKS Initial Knowledge Check. While running the knowledge check, the teachers were able to identify which students need help and which topics the students need the teacher’s support. With this data, the teachers can tailor their help to meet each student’s needs. Teachers can help their students thoroughly address their trouble areas before they take their exams. With specific support, students become master learners rather than master exam takers. 

“ALEKS is an effective tool for teaching and learning math, especially for differentiated teaching,” said Ms. Nguyen Ha Linh, Teacher in Mathematics, The Olympia Schools. ALEKS initial and regular knowledge checks help teachers identify each student’s gaps in knowledge, and guides teachers to the appropriate support plan individually.

In the long run, when the adaptive learning approach is fully integrated into the education system, educators will gain deeper insights into individual students’ potential from the check results. These adaptive assessments allow teachers to design the teaching method and curriculum to focus on building individuals’ cognitive skills instead of exam-taking processes.

“I can see clearly that ALEKS has reduced the workload for teachers, including developing test questions and grading; while significantly increasing the effectiveness of teaching. I would be happy if the software is widely used in schools in Vietnam,” said Mr. Tran Minh Son, Teacher in Mathematics, The Olympia Schools.

Teacher helps students explore ALEKS reports and learning path

"The teachers have been working hard during the past six months to prepare for this implementation of innovative educational technology," said Mr. Dale Johnson, Director of the Adaptive Learning Project. 

Through the observation of the first math lesson on ALEKS of The Olympia Schools, Dr. Cristal Ngo, instructional designer of the project, found that there are about 30% of the students constantly asked questions regarding the content and technical terms. “Thanks to some students taking care of themselves, the teachers had time to directly guide others who need help while doing the initial knowledge check. This explanation would also benefit other students as well,” said Dr. Cristal Ngo, Instructional Designer of the Adaptive Learning Project. 

“I really like ALEKS because ALEKS helps me learn better in math, with a user-friendly interface and easy to use.” (Do Thai Toan, student, class 7M2.2)

“ALEKS helps me master the knowledge since I can relearn parts of uncertain knowledge and skills through the system’s explanation part.” (Nguyen Thuan An, student, class 7M2.1)

“ALEKS helps me improve my math skills and helps me understand lessons in class because I can study the lesson at home before class. In addition, you also learn how to effectively manage your study time and homework through the use of ALEKS.” (Le Nguyen Thao, student, class 7M2.1)

The Adaptive Learning Prototype project engages fifteen 7th grade math classes from four secondary schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The pilot brought the adaptive learning approach to 484 students in its pilot schools. 

By the end of the pilot in late 2019, Vietnam will have gathered data from the STEM Workforce research and the adaptive 7th-grade math prototype to reconsider the education workforce needed for STEM at the secondary school level. The project aims to encourage the development of a revised education workforce design - taking into account the role of technology to insure effective learning outcomes for students.  The adaptive learning approach could impact educational quality in rural and disadvantaged populations that are working to provide both educational access and success for every child.

About Adaptive Learning Prototype Project

Adaptive learning is the delivery of custom learning experiences that address the unique needs of an individual student through just-in-time feedback, pathways and resources rather than providing a one-size-fits-all lecture learning experience. The technology solutions had brought in the digitally enhanced STEM curricula, scalable, in-service and pre-service training, which then allow the educators to organize interactive problem-based solving in-class activities, especially for difficult STEM subjects like mathematics.