[Video] Choosing the Right Solution – An Adaptive Learning Case Study

By Katy Mullin, Director of Course Development at Scitent

If we’ve learned anything in the past 20+ years of helping our partners build online learning businesses, it’s that every client is unique. When the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) decided to improve how it administered its maintenance of certification (MOC) program for neurological surgeons, they chose Scitent to put their plans into motion. Adaptive learning was a big part of our solution.

Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen, Secretary of ABNS, explains the fundamental difference adaptive learning makes.

Following a surgeon’s board certification, it is critical for them to stay up to date on the latest research and science, so they can put this knowledge into action. The original ABNS MOC testing program was designed to assure this. However, the process of testing every 10 years was arduous, inefficient and time consuming for these busy doctors and, most importantly, it didn’t provide a path to learn directly from any incorrect answers.

Learning, Not Just Testing

Our early conversations made it clear that they needed a solution that did more than just administer an updated test. They needed one that adapted to each surgeon’s knowledge base and provided a complete experience – learning, not just testing. So, the organization shifted to an adaptive learning tool that works on an individual basis, emphasizing knowledge that is most useful for each doctor’s circumstance and knowledge level.

“Our goal is to teach … to ensure that 100% of the neurological surgeons that are board certified, and that take this learning tool, will be able to get 100% on this learning tool so that they walk out knowing more than when they walked in,” explains Dr. Ellenbogen.

The new approach eliminates the angst that was associated with the testing of the past. It is also efficient, enabling the surgeons to master the concepts in a short amount of time. Finally, it is convenient, since the doctors are able to access the materials online at their convenience – while on-call, at a meeting or in the comfort of their own home.

The Essence of Adaptive Learning

The ABNS testing platform utilizes adaptive learning techniques. That means the information needed to successfully complete the certification testing is embedded in the learning tool itself. There’s no need to exit the tool to find additional information.

Here’s how the ABNS tool – which covers about a dozen topic areas with around thirty questions – works: It starts with the question, which the learner answers. If they answer correctly, they can move on to the next question. An incorrect response prompts the learner to access resources (articles, studies, etc.) so they can learn the correct answer before moving on to the next section.

“It’s a self-learning module where you can learn from the wrong answer what the correct answer is,” says Dr. Ellenbogen. “We want it to be a pleasant experience where they walk out feeling like they learned something and that it was worth the time they spent learning these issues.”

Learners give the tool high marks, calling it “exactly what is needed for MOC,” “extremely friendly” and “very comfortable to take.” For ABNS, the learning platform is also incredibly easy to update. If a new study comes out, it can be incorporated into the learning platform immediately, ensuring the learners have access to the most recent scientific research available.

Would you like to learn about creative ways Scitent can help you better serve your learners? Contact us to start the conversation.


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