A comparison of adaptive learning math programs and traditional math curriculum

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For some, mathematics is an amazing science that absorbs all attention. It becomes not just a hobby or an enjoyable activity; people can work with numbers for hours and have fun. But there are those who do not like this science from the school curriculum and there can be many reasons. But the most popular is the lack of instilling interest and a poorly constructed program of presenting the material. Students do not understand certain topics and lose interest in mathematics in general. This leads to the fact that simple equations cause fear and simple problems cannot be solved.

Adaptive Approach vs Traditional Math Learning System

In addition to the traditional system of teaching mathematics that many of you remember from school, a new approach has appeared – adaptive learning. In simple words, this is an individual approach to each student, taking into account current knowledge, abilities, motivation and other characteristics. And it really has become a more effective way of learning because each student is a unique person with his own ability to assimilate information. The school curriculum is designed for a group of students, someone understands the material faster, for someone it seems terrible and difficult. The program and lessons go further, and children who do not understand the past material are more difficult to understand the new one, which is superimposed in layers.

It is impossible to say by points why adaptive mathematics is increasingly being introduced into the school curriculum as an addition and not as an independent education system. Many teachers take refresher courses to learn new approach methods and teach students more effectively. Various methodologies are also offered on many virtual portals, such as adaptive ESM learning program, Eureka Math and others. These are authentic programs that apply the visualization of each task. Research has shown that many students perceive better what they see and can touch. 

A good example is a simple preschool task to put together 3 apples and 2 pears. On the sheet, this is a task, that is, an equation with numbers. But let’s visualize this and give the student just 3 apples and 2 pears. Or draw it on the board. You can also use cardboard or plastic models. All this helps to see the problem visually and to carry out the addition process faster. The adaptive teaching technique is convenient in that it can be used even by parents who did not understand the traditional school curriculum well. They may learn an adaptive approach to help the child with the lessons because they know their children better than the teachers.

An adaptive system for learning mathematics sometimes includes tasks and presentation of material in a playful way, which helps to interest students and make each new lesson an exciting quest. They become interested, they want to learn math, pass each lesson and enjoy a positive result. The traditional program is formulas, equations, rules and many tasks that seem impossible.

Why is the adaptive learning method more effective?

If we consider in detail the adaptive and traditional teaching methods, then the experts tend to the first type. This showed more excellent results among students of different return categories. This technology is the best solution for learning if you work with a personal teacher. One teacher works with one student to whom he pays maximum attention. He studies his abilities, level of knowledge, perception of information. The analysis of the student’s behavior helps the teacher to create an individual learning plan that will be ideal for a particular individual. To study the material, the teacher can use not only literature from the school curriculum. Other methods, computer programs, virtual portals are available for it. Many of them offer a wide variety of lessons that are a complete educational course for mathematics of any level.

We have already said that many European and American educational institutions have introduced an adaptive education methodology into their curriculum. But there are those who refused it. And the reason is quite simple – the fear of the unknown and the lack of desire to explore any innovative approaches to teaching students. The leadership of such schools does not want to spend time and money to train their teachers in a new method. Teachers also do not want to change the familiar program that they have been using for years. Especially difficulties with the introduction of adaptive learning were with teachers who have more than 10 or 20 years of teaching experience. The current generation responded positively to innovations, and the parents of modern students were happy to apply a new methodology that would be understandable to children and adults.

Many people do not like the traditional teaching technique because the lack of understanding of the material leads to the fact that there are fewer and fewer specialists. People choose more simplified professions so as not to study a lot and for a long time. Mathematics as a science can scare students at school, so after this period they choose different directions only without mathematics. This leads to the fact that there are fewer scientists, engineers, architects, doctors, and so on. Adaptive math teaching, including engaging game slides, can revolutionize this so it needs to be incorporated into the traditional curriculum. This will help to increase the level of knowledge of students, to interest them by involving them in the wonderful world of numbers and math tasks.


Considering the adaptive method of teaching mathematics, you can find many advantages. The parent committee of one American school noted that each child deserves an individual approach so that the school curriculum is understandable to him. Committee members are parents who notice the poor performance of their children and see the adaptive methodology as more effective. They approved the introduction of this technique in the school curriculum and noted that the performance of children has increased. Therefore, everyone decides for himself which training technique suits him best. After all, it is also important to note that many well-known specialists and scientists studied only the traditional program and were able to succeed.