With all the learning tools available, one might think that i-Ready is another of many apps and software tools that have come online in just the last five years. That’s the typical response if someone is asked, who invented i-ready? However, in reality, i-Ready as a learning tool and tracking system has been around for quite a while.
Adaptive Learning Versus Simply Lecturing
Designed to be progressive from the start, i-Ready allows students who are enrolled to test and adapt to math and reading challenges they are ready for. Each student operates at their progression and level. This avoids the traditional problem of losing kids in learning who process slower than their peers or those who go so fast they get bored by the main group and start getting distracted.
Instead, each child is moving at a pace unique to their learning style and cadence. The result is a far more flexible learning system that produces a greater number of positive results in classes overall.
Focusing on Learning That Sticks
In psychology circles, there are two well-known methods of learning. Book learning or theoretical, often rely on memorization of abstract ideas and rules until they become the norm out of repetition.
While this does produce learning in the sense of being able to respond correctly to specific queries, it has proven to perform poorly in students being able to fully understand context and concepts, particularly in why they are applied and when.
Alternatively, there is manipulative training or hands-on learning. This approach is literally physical in the sense that the student learns as they do their work, faces their challenges, and try to solve the requirement to pass and move forward.
More often than not, because it requires learning and application, manipulative training tends to have better retention and understanding, especially where students realize why they need to apply their lessons in a certain manner.
i-Ready utilizes a version of manipulative training, pushing students to practice and apply their lessons through repeating and escalating challenges versus just plain theoretical learning and memorization.
An Old Idea that Had to Wait for Its Time
The first generation of i-Ready was developed as far back as 1969. At that time, the approach was paper-based, and the overall system was going to be provided in a series of educational and school-level class books.
However, by 2010, the world had changed dramatically, and it was clear that online learning was going to have a place in education in the near future. By the next year, Curriculum Associates, the owner of i-Ready, had moved the concept into a digital platform and was beginning to market a student training package for the benefit of personal tutoring or enhanced individual learning.
Today, i-ready assessments and training programs cover a variety of topics and can be applied both to advancing learning as well as providing a stress-relieving distraction that still uses education instead of simple gaming.
More importantly, educators can track what the students are doing in the system, which tools they are using, and which ones they are avoiding. This gives valuable insight into how to tailor an education plan to a specific student who might need to beef up learning areas showing weakness, at least in terms of English and Maths.
There is no question that digital learning will continue to expand in student education, especially at the grade school level. While the post-pandemic world is placing an emphasis on returning to in-person learning, digital education has been thoroughly tested in the last two years, providing educators with a solid amount of data and experience on what works and what doesn’t.
Tools like i-Ready make more sense in these types of environments because of the applied practice aspect of learning versus just reading and watching educational concepts. And much of the same will also go into future versions of i-Ready to make it better for the future.