Every student has a
different starting point.

While adaptive learning isn’t new, as class sizes increase and students’ learning needs continue to vary greatly, it becomes more challenging to create an optimal learning experience for each student. To meet that challenge, instructors need a tool that helps assess students and offers self-paced instruction based upon individual student needs.

What if you could pinpoint your individual students’ proficiency early in the semester and differentiate practice to give each student the best chance of succeeding in your course?

Based on usage data, students who engage in Adaptive Practice—just a few minutes per week—get better outcomes. In fact, students who used ORION five or more times over the course of a semester reported the following results:

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better prepared for tests and quizzes

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more confident in their ability to learn the material

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more able to retain the material

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better grades in their courses


Adaptive Practice: What You Need to Know

One of the easiest and most effective ways to create a personalized learning experience is through adaptive practice.

What is Adaptive Practice?

Adaptive practice is the use of technology to create an individualized learning environment so that students can achieve better learning outcomes from the very start of a course.

An adaptive practice system evaluates what a student knows and present that student with new practice questions to solve that are just at the edge, or just beyond the edge, of the student’s demonstrated knowledge and understanding. The adaptive practice system then supports (or scaffolds) learning at this point. Such an approach is depicted in Figure 12.


What Are the Benefits of Adaptive Practice for Students and Instructors?

For Students:

Adaptive practice is designed to make sure students are learning at their best. It gives students endless opportunities for practice no matter what their starting level of understanding, while also offering them insight into what they know and don’t know so they can spend time efficiently.

For Professors:

Instructors can see how their students learn best and adjust material appropriately. Moreover, they can also see where students are struggling using real-time progress monitoring, giving them a chance to intercede early on.1 This approach also helps with online courses and courses with large class sizes because teachers can see how students are doing even when students aren’t given a lot, if any, face time with them.1

What Are the Different Approaches to Adaptive Practice?

There are two widely recognized approaches to adaptive practice.

The first is the predetermined adaptive approach.1 In this approach, at the beginning of the course, a student’s learning path is determined based on the technology’s initial knowledge of that individual, and that path is not altered going forward.1 The second approach includes real-time adaptation.1 It starts with an initial path, like in the predetermined adaptive approach, but it also has the ability to change its approach based on the students’ actions throughout.1 This constant updating provides an even more targeted learning environment for students.

Why Adopt Adaptive Practice Now?

The active retrieval of information has been shown to be a more effective learning strategy that improves outcomes than rereading the material.

Adaptive practice is a seamless solution that will allow students the optimal practice environment and teachers more insight into student knowledge understanding.  It’s a way of integrating personalized learning that can have long lasting benefits, and the sooner teachers adopt this practice, the sooner their students will be ahead of the curve.


ORION Adaptive Practice

ORION Adaptive Practice, available in the majority of WileyPLUS courses, addresses the need to adapt instruction to individual students. It relies on much of what has been learned in academic research, putting that research into practice. Results have shown that ORION Adaptive Practice prepares students for quizzes and exams, prompts them to read and engage with content more, and gives opportunities to practice material on a regular basis. Each student begins with a quick chapter-level diagnostic assessment giving them insight into what they know and don’t know. From there, students can study or practice to improve their individual proficiency. ORION Adaptive Practice is personalized to the needs of individual students, providing users with feedback and analytics on questions, learning objectives, and chapters. Students learn where their individual strengths and weaknesses lie, while instructors can identify learning trends and at risk students early.

The Impact of WileyPLUS ORION Adaptive Practice on Student Engagement, Performance, and Proficiency


Adaptive Online Learning- The Present and Future of Education

To learn more about adaptive learning and ORION, download this whitepaper, Adaptive Online Learning- The Present and Future of Education, from Dr. Bruce McLaren (Carnegie Mellon University).



I immediately realized the program would be a huge help.– Jonte

Digital-first course materials improve student outcomes, but don’t take our word for it. Listen to everyday instructors and students talk about the transformative benefits of using learning platforms in their courses.



A little time with ORION goes a long way

Students using ORION perform better on exams.


1 Adaptive Learning: Best Practice Review and Future Outlook. Rep. N.p.: Outsell, 2015.
2Adaptive Online Learning: The Present and Future of Education. Dr. Bruce McLaren, 2013.