Individual Learning Maps

for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

An adaptive learning prototype to help individuals understand what they know and what they need to learn in order to master a subject.

Overview

Students and teachers alike need to be able to diagnose student knowledge, introduce learning content in an engaging way and track students’ learning progress. We developed an adaptive learning prototype to help individuals understand what they know and what they need to learn in order to master a subject. We started by exploring central questions: Can a learning map do more than just show a student her journey through course content? Can it become a tool for inspiring progress? To answer these questions we spent months with students and experts iterating on approaches and designs to circle in on a seemingly simple idea – that showing kids their progress could lead to faster learning.

With our new insights we crafted an early prototype of a tool that diagnoses student needs, introduces learning content and helps students track their learning progress. We also built in a system of choices and rewards that had students begging for more. We focused on some key features: an engaging interface, using it as a learning wayfinding tool and how instructional content may be included.

An engaging interface

Students sign in and answer questions to establish a baseline skill level.

A wayfinding tool

As students continue, they earn points and fill in a learning map.

Two trains

An update to the classic problem — showing how the learning map might include engaging instructional content.