Differentiated Teaching with Adaptive Learning Systems and Teacher Dashboards: The Teacher Still Matters Most

Marieke van Geel, Trynke Keuning*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
294 Downloads (Pure)


Although many schools in the Netherlands have purchased adaptive learning systems (ALSs) to reduce workload and improve differentiated instruction, the use of ALSs with teacher dashboards in the classroom does not in itself necessarily improve differentiated instruction. The question is, what skills and knowledge do teachers need to provide differentiated instruction with the help of ALSs with teacher dashboards and how does this differ from a context in which such technologies are not used By means of a cognitive task analysis (CTA), consisting of classroom observations, interviews and several expert meetings, teachers skills and knowledge necessary for providing differentiated instruction when using teacher dashboards and ALSs were disentangled. These findings were and compared with the skills and knowledge needed by teachers providing differentiated instruction without these tools. Results show that teachers dashboards can support teachers when providing differentiated instruction by providing up-to-date information about students progress. Nevertheless, coping with the new information provided on the dashboards also requires new skills and knowledge such as interpreting information from the dashboard and understanding how the information in the ALS is calculated. Although there are some differences, the core principles of differentiated instruction1) being goal-oriented, 2) continually monitoring, 3) adapting instruction and assignments, 4) being ambitious, 5) stimulating students self-regulationare critical for high-quality differentiated instruction regardless of the available tools in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE transactions on learning technologies
Issue number2
Early online date9 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Adaptive learning systems
  • cognitive task analysis
  • differentiated instruction
  • teacher dashboard
  • technology-enhanced learning


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