In a typical classroom, student don't learn at the same pace, so their individual needs are often neglected because teachers can't create personalized lesson plans for every student and work with them directly on what they're struggling with, or challenge them.
There are hundreds of thousands of data points for each student over the course of their academic career, data points which could be leveraged to deliver customized education. This type of learning, which adjusts based on student data, is called adaptive learning.
Knewton is a startup founded by Jose Ferreira, a former executive at test preparation materials company Kaplan, and it’s aiming to use big data to provide insights into how people learn. The Knewton platform gives schools, publishers, and developers the ability to provide adaptive learning for any student. In October 2011 they closed a $33 million Series D round led by Founders Fund and textbook publisher Pearson. Knewton is working on having educational content tagged so it can be placed into a “Knowledge Graph.” This system determines what concepts need to be learned before a student can move on to others, and how they all fit together.
“We’re getting publishers and content providers to tag their content at a very granular level. When it is tagged we can break it all down and provide it to the user when they need it, which is a continuous process,” said Knewton COO David Liu in an interview. The company recently parterned with Pearson to tag every textbook under their imprint work with the Knewton Knowledge Graph.
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