McGraw-Hill’s New Suite of Adaptive Learning Products: New Generation of E-Learning?

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[Press Release]

McGraw-Hill Education Unveils Suite of Adaptive Learning Products, Including First-Ever Adaptive E-Book, at 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show

New “LearnSmart Advantage” suite brings adaptive technology to new aspects of student learning experience; “SmartBook” revolutionizes reading

Today at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, McGraw-Hill Education launched a suite of adaptive learning products for higher education that use advanced technological engines to improve learning and student performance. The new “LearnSmart Advantage” suite takes adaptive learning – one of the biggest trends in education in 2012 – beyond the realm of course study tools by using adaptive technology to provide more dynamic, personalized learning experiences across new aspects of the student learning experience. Included in the suite is SmartBook™, the world’s first ever adaptive e-book, which revolutionizes college reading by focusing students’ attention on the content that is most critical to their learning.

Adaptive learning is a method of education that seeks to personalize learning by using sophisticated algorithmic technology to continually assess students’ knowledge, skill and confidence levels and design targeted study paths based on the resulting data to bolster students’ understanding in the areas where they need to improve the most. By allowing students to focus their outside-of-class study time on the topics and concepts that are most challenging to them, adaptive learning has been shown to help students study more efficiently, develop greater proficiency and earn better grades. Adaptive learning also benefits instructors: By better preparing students for class, adaptive learning enables instructors to spend more time delving into advanced concepts and engaging students in high-level discussion.

The LearnSmart Advantage suite builds on the success of McGraw-Hill LearnSmart™, the company’s industry leading adaptive study tool. With more than 1 million unique student users answering more than 1 billion questions through LearnSmart since its launch in 2009, McGraw-Hill Education has been able to use its unparalleled data and insights into how students learn to refine its adaptive capabilities and apply them to new areas of the learning experience – in effect creating a fully adaptive course. McGraw-Hill Education will make the LearnSmart Advantage suite available to students through instructors and institutions as well as through direct purchase.

“Since the launch of LearnSmart in 2009, we’ve developed a deep understanding of how personalized learning through adaptive technology helps improve student performance,” said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education. “Bringing our expertise and proven effectiveness in adaptive learning to new areas of the learning experience represents an enormous opportunity, both for McGraw-Hill Education and students, instructors and institutions across the country. With the launch of SmartBook and the rest of the LearnSmart Advantage suite, we continue to lead higher education in using adaptive technology to help improve student performance.”

The following new products are joining LearnSmart in the LearnSmart Advantage suite:

·         SmartBook – an adaptive e-book that creates a more efficient and effective reading experience by assessing students’ knowledge and skill levels as they read and highlighting content that focuses their attention on the topics and concepts that they have yet to master. SmartBook represents a breakthrough achievement in reading, as it breaks the centuries-old tradition of books as linear experiences that presume to be read in their entirety, and in a pre-defined sequence, in order to be understood.

·         LearnSmart Prep – a “before-the-course” adaptive resource designed to prepare students entering complex courses that are critical to the completion of their major or degree (such as Anatomy & Physiology, Organic Chemistry, or Majors Biology) with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful on day one of class. Students can also use LearnSmart Prep in the early weeks of a course to ensure that they are prepared for concepts and assignments that will come later in the course.

·         LearnSmart Labs – a photo-realistic virtual lab experience that uses adaptive technology to enable meaningful scientific exploration and learning while eliminating many of the practical challenges of a physical lab setting. By allowing students to practice their experiments in a virtual lab setting, LearnSmart Labs allows students and instructors to maximize the valuable time spent in the physical laboratory. For online and blended courses, LearnSmart Labs offers the closest thing available to an actual physical laboratory experience, enabling students to put the concepts they have learned in class to the virtual test without requiring access to a brick-and-mortar lab.

·         LearnSmart Achieve – a comprehensive adaptive learning system that pinpoints students’ areas of weakness and supplies students with targeted content, including videos, interactive activities and additional readings. LearnSmart Achieve gives students on-the-spot tutoring at times when they may not have access to their professors and also provides a time management feature that guides students through the content and resources at a pace that is best for them.

The LearnSmart Advantage suite enables institutions to adopt adaptive learning as an institution-wide practice, creating a cycle of student performance improvement across disciplines and classes. McGraw-Hill Education also plans to offer the products in the LearnSmart Advantage suite available to students or their parents to purchase directly. The company entered the consumer market for adaptive technology in the summer of 2012 when it made LearnSmart for sale directly to students and parents.

LearnSmart Advantage Availability
·         LearnSmart: Available immediately across more than 90 course areas.
·         SmartBook: Available in the spring of 2013 across more than 90 course areas.
·         LearnSmart Prep: Available immediately across six course areas.
·         LearnSmart Labs: Available immediately for the following courses: Majors Biology, General Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry and Nutrition.
·         LearnSmart Achieve: Available in beta in the spring of 2013 across more than 25 course areas.

All products in the LearnSmart Advantage suite will be available directly to students beginning at $19.99.

McGraw-Hill Education at CES
McGraw-Hill Higher Education will be demonstrating the LearnSmart Advantage suite at Pepcom’s “Digital Experience!” event on Jan. 7. McGraw-Hill Education will be posting live tweets from the conference through its Twitter feeds (@MHEducation, @MHhighered). Additionally, Stephen Laster, McGraw-Hill Education’s chief digital officer, will participate in the HigherEdTECH Summit at CES, a conference designed to bring together industry leaders to discuss how technology can positively impact higher education.

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About McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw-Hill Education is a digital learning company that draws on its more than 100 years of educational expertise to offer solutions that improve learning outcomes around the world. McGraw-Hill Education is the adaptive education technology leader with the vision for creating a highly personalized learning experience that prepares students of all ages for the world that awaits.  The Company has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions available in more than 65 languages.  For additional information, visit www.mheducation.com.

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One thought on “McGraw-Hill’s New Suite of Adaptive Learning Products: New Generation of E-Learning?

  1. “SmartBooks”— “Revolutionize” Reading??? Some might contend that is a modest hyperbole and a true “revolution” has not been witnessed since M. Adler’s classic “How to Read A Book”. Educational publishing professionals who have witnessed the various phases of pedagogical feature development and their evolution can appreciate that some features per se such as asking questions throughout chapters and others mentioned in the suite programs have always been present in some of the better textbooks on the market.

    In fact, there was a leading psych book back in the 80-90′s published by HarperCollinsCollegePublishers (now Pearson via several mergers) that had a “Before You Go” feature integrated throughout the chapters that was designed to do, pretty much, the same thing. Such heuristic models, however, are more prevalent in math and science textbooks. Many student oriented authors and textbooks have had creative pedagogical features designed to help teachers teach and students learn. For example, the current Hornsby-Lial (Miller)-McGinnis developmental math series not only focuses on sore spots but also has (had) both book and chapter readiness and placement exercises with built-in appropriate remediation, as well as other adaptive learning features going back to the 80′s and 90′s! These and many other teaching and learning features have been the hallmark of best selling textbooks from by gone years especially in the areas of math and science. Now what is “new” is the digital platform MHHE uses for the implementation of this model; not many of the feature sets per se. Many of these bear a family resemblance to features in “traditional” textbooks as alluded to, and other publishers probably have comparable dynamic implementation platforms, programs and heuristic models that may go under different names.

    So what’s new, it seems, is what everyone would expect— the digital and related platforms for the content and pedagogy. Some day, some author or teacher will develop a truly NEW set of pedagogical learning and teaching aids that are part and parcel of the multi-modal technological platforms. Some of those who have spent sometime in educational publishing might contend that what we have is an “evolution not revolution” especially given that many of the features mentioned have a print legacy and now in digital “clothing.” In other words, with the advent of smart phones, tablets, and the like, one should expect authors and publishers to take advantage of those multi-dimensional dynamic modalities just as has been done with CD, DVDs, and other media in the past. Not doing so is just not keeping up with the times and with learners of all ages. Nothing revolutionary about that. A good start though.

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