Answer to "What is adaptive learning and how does it intersect with learning analytics?"

Topic Editor: Dr. Martin Pusic, New York University


Adaptive, also called, personalized learning uses learning analytic measures to customize the nature and duration of learning activities.  While the concept is not new and is in fact intrinsic to individualized tutoring for example, the promise of learning analytics lies in the capacity to use predictive/prescriptive analytics to decrease the necessity for in-person instruction and thus distribute more widely at least some types of instruction.  Once built, the marginal cost of adding learners to an adaptive learning system is minimal, in contrast to in-person tutoring.


The schematic below is taken from the U.S. Dept of Education overview of learning analytics.(1)  For a health professions example see Pecaric et al. (2)









  1. Bienkowski, Marie, Mingyu Feng, and Barbara Means. "Enhancing teaching and learning through educational data mining and learning analytics: An issue brief." US Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology 1 (2012): 1-57.  Available at

  2. Pecaric M, Boutis K, Beckstead J, Pusic M. A big data and learning analytics approach to process-level feedback in cognitive simulations. Academic Medicine. 2017 Feb 1;92(2):175-84.

Exhibit 1.JPG