Adaptive training is a popular method of teaching a certain skill that involves gradually increasing the complexity of tasks. This type of training can be applied to many areas of personal, academic, and professional development. Psychologists, teachers, and parents might use adaptive training techniques to help young children improve their cognitive skills and comprehension of subject matter. Employers often start new workers off with simple, easy duties and increase their responsibilities as they become more familiar with the job. Finally, a special form of adaptive training is frequently built in to software and computer programs to allow users to master simple tasks before moving on to more difficult ones.
Most school systems are built upon the idea that students should be presented with basic, easy-to-comprehend ideas before being introduced to difficult and abstract concepts. As children progress through elementary and secondary school, they are faced with increasingly complex subject matter that requires higher and higher levels of cognitive skill. Learning mathematics is a strong example: students must be able to accurately add and multiply simple numbers before they can grasp fractions and algebraic variables.
In many classrooms, a more direct version of adaptive training takes place in which teachers and specialists work one-on-one with students to help them overcome certain difficulties, such as reading problems. A child who is behind in reading generally needs extra time and simpler instructions to begin to develop important skills. A specialist might play memory games with the child to help him or her remember sounds and correlate them with letters. Instructors or parents may read a story aloud to the student at first, then read it together, and finally allow the student to read it independently. With time and explicit adaptive training, individuals are often able to catch up to their peers and succeed academically.
In the professional world, adaptive training allows employees to gain a basic understanding of their job responsibilities before being asked to complete all tasks on their own. Many new workers receive formal or informal training to familiarize themselves with the terminology, techniques, and policies implemented in the job setting. An individual who gets a job as an insurance claims adjuster, for example, is not usually expected to start investigating complex, expensive claims at first. He or she usually begins by assisting and observing an experienced adjuster and taking on simple, straightforward jobs. Adaptive training in the workplace ensures that new employees become fully prepared for hard tasks.
New computer applications can be intimidating, and many software developers incorporate learning modules into their programs. People can get help with unfamiliar terms and learn what they can do with their systems before trying complex tasks. Some types of adaptive technology are designed to help people with certain disabilities, such as blindness, effectively use special computers and programs. An adaptive program may include voice recognition and applications that read on-screen material to users.