Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2015


Antonie J. Jetter

Course Title

Front End Management for New Product Development

Course Number

ETM 543/643


The focus of this paper explores the future of education, concentrating on the adaptive learning aspects for children with special needs and disabilities. A future need exists for a flexible and adaptive interactive learning environment that transcends beyond the classroom, encompassing inputs and influences from a student's whole network (Educators/specialists, Parents, advocates, Transportation/life aids, and therapists). Scenarios for an adaptive learning environment are constructs of using a hybrid approach which encompasses scenario analysis and fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) techniques. FCM methods have been used successfully in many futures studies in various industries to identify challenges, but have rarely been applied to the educational industry. A panel of educational experts and practitioners were interviewed to identify the driving factors and uncertainties for a realistic future vision of the adaptive learning environment for special needs students. Utilizing subject matter experts, an informal cognitive mapping workshop ensued to visualize the relationships, impacts, and causalities between each pair of drivers, which generated causal maps that have been aggregated into an FCM structure. Morphological analysis was used to quantify and simulate the impacts of hypothetical scenarios on the future vision. The results of the FCM analysis provide guidance and insight into where the subject matter experts and champions for those with disabilities can channel their resources for maximum impact in 2025. Scenarios that have been created facilitate debate and pose questions that when answered can remove some uncertainty surrounding the future for adaptive learning for special needs adolescents and adults.


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