Although the intricacies of human psychology may never be fully explained, Internet companies seem to have some parts of it figured out. By tracking millions of users, Google, Facebook, and the gaming company Zynga have learned how to position every “I agree” button, text box, and virtual cow to entice people to click.
A company called Knewton, in New York City, is now trying to use similar techniques in service of an arguably more laudable goal—helping students learn faster.
What is Knewton?
Knewton's adaptive technology continuously personalizes online learning content for each individual student.
Pearson and Knewton: Big Data and the Promise of Personalized Learning
"Knewton isn't alone in working on building algorithms to help deliver educational content, "adapted" to students' responses. Companies like Grockit, Dreambox Learning and Carnegie Learning are also working on adaptive learning platforms. But the partnership with Pearson certainly sets Knewton apart from its competition. The image that accompanies the news in Techcrunch -- a comparison of Pearson's share of the market versus Cengage Learning and the University of Phoenix -- doesn't seem to get the proportions quite right, but we get the point: Pearson is the largest digital content provider in higher ed, reaching some 9 million students. Pearson is, in fact, the largest education company in the world with interests in curriculum, textbooks, and assessment at both the higher education and the K-12 level.
That digital content can now connect to an adaptive learning platform. Big content. Big data."
Via Nik Peachey, Heiko Idensen, Jim Lerman