How increased utilization of student paced Adaptive Learning improved course outcomes

Submitted by Amber Chapman on

One of the biggest challenges for nursing students is to acclimate to the world of the nursing school exam.  Gone are the days of one right answer, the nursing student must learn how to prioritize several correct answers to determine which is the "most" correct. During the Spring 2017, utilization of the Adaptive Quizzing/Learning Resources was highly encouraged but not attached to course points.  In Fall of 2017, the Adaptive Learning activities were attached to 39 of the 600 total course points, leading to a 206% increase in student utilization. I compared the data from the Standardized HESI Fundamentals Block 1 Exit Exam and the data (attached) improved in every area tracked, which supports the hypothesis that utilization of the Adaptive Learning resources likely contributed to an improved outcome for students.

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Average: 4.8 (4 votes)


Kelly Loucy Mon, 01/22/2018 - 9:56am

The fall to spring comparison is really interesting! It was interesting to me to see the improvement across the board--not just the "best" getting better, but I noticed the lowest scores improved as well. Will you adapt your point structure at all in the future or did your feel that the 39 of the 600 points was enough of an incentive?

Amber Chapman Tue, 01/23/2018 - 5:40pm

In reply to by Kelly Loucy


Thank you so much for your feedback and taking the time to review my data!

To address your question about the points, in nursing the non-proctored points may only account for 25% of the total course points.  Because I only have 600 points for the entire semester this only gives me 150 points to utilize as necessary for all non-proctored assignments.  This means the adaptive learning accounts for 26% of their non-proctored points.  They have a total of 35 other assignments in Block 1, which range from 0 - 15 points each, so the adaptive learning has, by far, the biggest impact of all the non-proctored assignments. The adaptive learning has the highest number of points assigned to anything during Block 1, other than a proctored exam.  In fact, it is even more than the HESI exam, which is worth a max of 30 points. 

I know it seems like 39 points isn't much, but in nursing 39 points is quite a lot :)

Catherine Cochran Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:21am

Great job Amber!  I'm glad to see and hear that you are doing excellent things for our nursing students.  

Teri Graham Tue, 01/23/2018 - 10:15am

Kelly - That is a great question....I was thinking the same thing.  I am happy to see they attached points for incentive which was beneficial but wonder if it will be (or can be) increased.

Amber- I believe it can be very intimidating to not have a "right" or "wrong" answer and I know students are already nervous about HESI from the conversations among nursing students in my classes.  Therefore, Adaptive Learning Resources and Quizzes are very powerful and beneficial to our students.

Amber Chapman Tue, 01/23/2018 - 5:40pm

In reply to by Teri Graham


Thanks so much for the feedback!  See my response to Kelly about the points...

It definitely is intimidating to the students.  If you could hear their responses when I ask them on day one "what have you heard about nursing school exams?" It is very true that we will have 2 or 3 or even 4 "right" answers and they have to learn how to prioritize to figure out which is "MOST right".  It is a whole new way of thinking, and I spend a lot of time with them developing that part of the nursing brain :)

Becky Baranowski Tue, 01/23/2018 - 1:12pm


Thanks for submitting a CATS!  I am thrilled to see a nursing CATS because I know you are all doing TONS of assessment in your department.  My husband went through the Maricopa nursing program and really struggled with determining with question was "most right."  He would show me study questions where 2 or 3 would be ok answers; it was very frustrating for him (and me).  I am thrilled that you had such strong positive results.  

Amber Chapman Tue, 01/23/2018 - 5:43pm

In reply to by Becky Baranowski

YAY!  You are so welcome!  Selfishly, I'm just glad that I had positive data to report so I could brag on my students a little :) These nursing exams are frustrating, but there really is a method to the madness, it just takes time to learn the nursing test taking skills! Because I teach Block 1, I spend a lot of time with them on test taking and working to develop that nursing brain :)

Heather Muns Tue, 01/23/2018 - 2:06pm

Yes.  I love the baseline data and the intervention/change and then the post data.  You can really use the info to make curriculum adjustments moving forward.  Very nice.  

Olga Tsoudis Sat, 02/17/2018 - 7:45pm

HI Amber,

Thank you for sharing your results in such a detailed manner. That is a great idea to include

the activities in with the points. 

Thank you for sharing!