HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

How Does Adaptive Learning Work Inside an LMS?

While instructor-led and in-classroom training sessions are still more common than online learning methods, they have dropped from 47% to 41% in the past 3 years. And this downward trend is expected to continue because of the rising popularity of adaptive learning.1
L&D development professionals are now actively seeking ways to incorporate adaptive learning into their approaches by way of evolving Learning Management Systems (LMS) and learning technology. Keep reading to learn more about how adaptive learning works inside an LMS.

The Technology Used Inside an LMS for Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning in 2018 is typically completed via User-Experience Application Programming Interfaces (xAPIs) inside an LMS. An xAPI allows learning content and learning systems to speak to each other in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences. And learning content and experiences are recorded in a Learning Record Store (LRS).
Learners will typically have a learning profile that is created, recorded, and updated based on their learning experiences. When learners interact with certain pieces of learning content, the xAPI will automatically connect them with the appropriate learning content in the LRS, or via other application or program integrations, based on conditions programed inside the LMS.

Implementing Adaptive Learning Inside an LMS

Theoretically, you want to implement adaptive learning inside an LMS because it will allow learners to master the same learning objectives  even if they must take different routes or engage with different learning content in order to get there.
To implement adaptive learning effectively inside an LMS, you’ll want to ensure there is a variety of learning content of different content types that cater to different learning styles for each set of learning objectives. You’ll want videos, virtual reality modules, gamification, booklets to read, webcasts, etc. And you’ll want to ensure each piece of learning content is created and organized within the LMS according to different learning objectives and learning sequences of learning objectives. 2

Benefits and Purpose of Adaptive Learning Inside an LMS

As you’re learning more about how to effectively implement adaptive learning inside your LMS, always consider the benefits and purpose of it to ensure you remain on the right track in your efforts. Adaptive learning inside an LMS:

  • Allows learners to learn at their own paces, when it’s convenient for them,
  • Distributes relevant learning content to each learner to provide a more personalized learning experience,
  • Offers engaging learning content in a timely fashion to each learner,
  • Provides an efficient way to administer learning and track each learner’s progress, and
  • Ensures each learner retains what he or she is setting out to learn.
  1. Chief Learning Officer. Adapting to Adaptive Learning. Accessed 3/22/2018.
  2. eLearning Industry. Adapting to Adaptive Learning. Accessed 3/22/2018.


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