Request a Demo

Adaptive Learning Tool for Stanford University project

About the Adapt Project

This project is an experiment of adaptive learning impact that involves 10,000 online users.
The owner of the project is Emma Brunskill from Stanford University.
The project’s aim is to test the positive impact of Bayesian Knowledge Tracing (BKT) principles implementation in online education.

The Challenge

Adapt Project Prerequisites

The basis of the project is Emma’s previous experiment involving 100 students, but Adapt code was not ready for working with thousands of students to provide statistical grounding for the theory.
Our task was to make sure we have a brand-new infrastructure for the new experiment which will presumably engage up to 10K students in Stanford and CMU.

The experiment environment:

- Pre-assessment: to measure the starting level of knowledge
- In-course assessments: to improve the assimilability of the material
- Post-course assessment: to measure the level of knowledge quality

The hypothesis:

“In-course assessment adaptivity reduces the number of tests, keeps the students engaged and simultaneously keeps the level of quality of achieved knowledge”

Adapt Project Tasks List

The Solution

Technology Stack

We’ve investigated the code to match new requirements of performance and scalability:


- To enable the system to handle high workloads we used the Big Data methods. In particular, we chose MongoDB as a reliable database, providing easy replication and horizontal scaling capabilities. This helps deal with intense write loads easily and ensures stable functioning of high-load system. For example, the current course on Lagunita (the Stanford University Online learning platform) involves 10,000 students with individual learning paths.


- We created a generic solution (so-called recommendation engine, namely the Adapt), able to work with any LMS through API to provide adaptive assessment experience.

Adapt Algorithm

We provided load testing and code optimization to ensure smooth and stable Adapt functionality. The basic logic of the Adapt can be illustrated as follows:


Adapt Algorithm Infographic

The explanation of the infographic:

- Adapt knows the answers on a pool of tests divided by some skills set
- Based on test success/failure, Adapt calculates the probability of the student mastering the corresponding skill.
As an example: success on tests 1 & 2 increases the probability that student mastered the skill; failure with test 3 makes the statistics worse
- Adapt keeps giving tests from some particular skill set till the probability of subject mastery reaches some level. This level is titled “threshold”
- When the “threshold” inside particular skill set is reached, Adapt blocks related tests. Hence, if the student is smart he can be given about 3-4 tests for each skill set instead of 10-15 to prove that he mastered the subject


Adapt Implementation in the Open edX LMS

Here is how Adapt  works in Stanford’s online learning platform Lagunita

Other Adapt Features We Implemented

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to ensure we're delivering the best possible website experience for our visitors. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.
Learn more about who we are, how you can contact us and how we process personal data in our Privacy Policy 

Please proceed to the next page for the most convenient date and time for a demo What do we mean by "demo"? How long would the demo take?
Book a demo