The Adaptive Mechanics Network (AMN) represents a community of engineering experts whose shared vision is that every student and every teacher, wherever they are, will have access to the best engineering education.
How does it work?
Members of the network are able to create deploy, analyse and share next-generation resources and courseware – we call rich, interactive and adaptive – powered by Smart Sparrow’s Adaptive eLearning Platform. You can teach with existing adaptive lessons, or adapt them to better suit your teaching needs. Real-time learning analytics will give you insights to understand how your students are interacting with your content. Access key data effortlessly, using our drill-down dashboard, to pinpoint common misconceptions and problem areas in order to continually improve your teaching.
Origins of the Network
The AMN was inspired by the initiatives of Professor Ganga Prusty and a successful pilot in the mechanics course in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The success of the pilot lead to the development of a Community of Practice with the support of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) in 2010, now known as the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT). This Community of Practice involved collaboration between seven leading universities in Australia to create a pioneering suite of Adaptive Tutorials that teach key threshold concepts in first and second year engineering mechanics.
These Adaptive Tutorials, built on Smart Sparrow’s Adaptive eLearning Platform, are interactive and highly engaging and provide students with a personalised learning experience that adapts the instruction level (and feedback) to the students’ level of understanding. Deployment of the Adaptive Tutorials have been shown to significantly improve student learning and reduce failure rates.
In 2013, the OLT provided support for an Innovation and Development project (also lead by Prof. Prusty), titled “The Virtual Design Workshop: An on-line adaptive resource for engineering and architecture”. This new project extends the development and use of adaptive tutorials to other areas of engineering education, with an immediate focus on Engineering Design.
All of the Adaptive Tutorials developed in the ALTC / OLT projects are available to academics teaching in an Australian university, and can be found in the ‘Courseware’ page of this site. Each Adaptive Tutorial can be personalised by the academic to meet their own requirements and can be adapted over time to teach more effectively. Tutorials can be deployed to students by enrolling them directly into the tutorial or by integrating Smart Sparrow’s Adaptive eLearning Platform with any LTi-compliant Learning Management System (LMS).
Publications and Reports
What is adaptive learning?
To discover more about Adaptive eLearning, and what makes the courseware available on the Adaptive Mechanics Network unique, please visit Smart Sparrow’s Adaptive eLearning page.
What is the Adaptive eLearning Platform?
The Smart Sparrow Adaptive eLearning Platform is a suite of tools that lets anyone create rich, interactive and adaptive learning experiences. It includes an easy to use authoring tool for creating adaptive online tutorials, and is powered by learning analytics dashboards providing instructors the insights they need to continuously adaptive and improve their lessons. For more information, please watch the video on the Smart Sparrow homepage, or if you represent an educational institution and would like a demo, please register.
How easy is it to use Smart Sparrow?
You will be able to create your first lesson within minutes. If you need assistance, use the help centre and community support to guide you. The adaptivity author built into the authoring tool lets you create adaptivity that is as simple or sophisticated as you like. Get started by clicking ‘create lesson’ from inside the workspace, and let us know how you go! The platform was built in collaboration with, and used by, many academics and instructional designers (check out some case studies).
How much does it cost?
Joining the AMN is free, as are the Adaptive Tutorials featured in the Courseware section. As a member of the AMN, your school or faculty is eligible for a special Smart Sparrow AMN Platform Licence, which will allow you to deploy existing lessons to your students at no cost.
If you would like to use the Adaptive eLearning Platform in a broader sense, e.g. creating your own rich, interactive and adaptive lessons, your school of faculty can purchase a Discounted platform upgrade to a full license. Contact us to find out more.
How is Smart Sparrow different to other adaptive learning companies?
Smart Sparrow is different in a few important ways:
Research-based. Smart Sparrow spun out of a research group at the University of New South Wales in the field of intelligent tutoring systems and data mining.
Teacher-centric. Our state-based question design model and rules-based approach to adaptivity puts teachers in control.
You create adaptive courseware. We enable individual professors to develop engaging content while preserving academic control or pedagogical ownership.
Out of the box Learning Analytics. Our learning analytics gives teachers the insights they need to identify and remediate misconceptions.
Focus on learning by doing. Use Smart Sparrow to teach with rich, interactive media and simulative content, allowing students to learn by doing.
To find out more, we recommend you sign up and get started!
Where can I get help?
Start with the help centre that is easily accessed from within the workspace or the author, after you’ve logged in. If you’re still having trouble, contact us on our support page.
Are the lessons created with Smart Sparrow accessibility compliant?
The Smart Sparrow platform enables you to create lesson experiences that are WCAG AA Compliant, however, as the creator of the courseware, you need to be aware of the content you are including in your lesson. For example, our platform will allow you to include Flash objects, but you must make sure that your Flash files are accessible.
What sort of student data does Smart Sparrow collect?
Smart Sparrow collects only the information you use to enrol students such as name and email. We also collect students’ interaction data related to their learning – only that which takes place in Smart Sparrow adaptive lessons. We take student data collection very seriously. We are FERPA compliant and all data is encrypted and stored in a highly secure environment. Data is never shared with third parties without express written permission.
I don’t have an educational institution email address, can I still join?
Please contact us and tell us more about your organisation and your interest in the Adaptive Mechanics Network. If you are a verified teacher / academic, we’ll be happy to grant you immediate access.
Can Smart Sparrow be used for building entire online courses, or only individual lessons?
Yes, Smart Sparrow can be used for building a range of learning experiences, from individual courseware to entire online courses. Please contact us for more information.
Is Smart Sparrow an LMS?
No, Smart Sparrow is an Adaptive eLearning Platform – a suite of tools that lets you create, deploy, analyse and share – rich, interactive and adaptive courseware. Smart Sparrow is LTI compliant – so it can be integrated with any modern LMS. Learn more about LTI here.
Does Smart Sparrow work with my LMS?
If your LMS supports LTI (learn more here) then Smart Sparrow will integrate seamlessly to provide Single Sign On and Gradebook Integration. All modern LMS’s support LTI including Moodle, Blackboard, Desire2Learn and Canvas.
Does Smart Sparrow support LTI?
Is Smart Sparrow SCORM compliant?
No. Lessons built on Smart Sparrow must run on the Adaptive eLearning Platform.
Do you have to be a developer to create adaptive content in smart sparrow?
No. The Adaptive eLearning Platform lets educators and instructional designers develop their own rich, interactive and adaptive courseware while keeping academic control. Developers can add great value by building you a simulation or an interactive element that you can then easily import into your lessons.
Is my browser supported?
Our product is tested and supported on the latest two version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Click here to see if your browser is supported.
Do Smart Sparrow lessons work on mobile devices?
Yes, content authored in Smart Sparrow is consumable on any modern browser, including mobile devices and iOS.
Is there a set up fee?
No, there is no setup fee. Simply sign up and get started.
I’m a developer – how do I create a simulation that will work in the adaptive lesson?
Please contact us and we’ll help you get started right away with our SDK!
Are there limits to the amount of students that can access my Smart Sparrow lessons?
No there are no limits to the number of lessons you can build or the number of students you can enrol. You will need to have the right license for your volume of students, but there is no technical limitation and our platform is highly scalable meaning we can support many many concurrent students.
How long does it take to set up a lesson on Smart Sparrow?
How long is a piece of string?
Ok, seriously – it depends on several parameters: the length of your lesson, how sophisticated it is, how adaptive, how interactive, whether you require simulations, etc. Some lessons take a few hours to create, some a bit longer.
How do I create a lesson?
Login to the workspace and click on ‘Create Lesson’. Check out the help centre if you need any guidance.
How do I deploy a lesson?
In the workspace, you can ‘activate’ your lesson. If you need any guidance, see the help centre or contact support.