Knewton: the Adaptive Learning Solution?

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Schools are built in a mass-production format. The goal is to give the same information to every student, quickly and efficiently, so that they can pass the test and move on to the next course. While this approach may have made sense at one point in history (say, around the time that mass production of cars started) now it appears to limit each student’s potential. Students learn in their own personal way, and education should match that individualized approach to help them achieve. Knewton, a new company focused on personalized learning, thinks it can do just that.

David Kuntz, VP of Research at Knewton, notes that Knewton “makes learning both more efficient and more effective.” The Knewton system is built in an online format, helping students access it at any time. This theory is not new as there are many online universities, MOOCs, and other resources doing this format, but Knewton makes it specific to students by delivering recommendations.

Knewton Recommendation is a continuously adaptive method to offer suggestions based on how you did in the previous element and on what you should study next. This method may sound like traditional learning, but Knewton does not always suggest what you would expect. For example, if you are struggling in word-based math problems, Knewton will recommend a course in critical reading to help you more easily grasp the problems that are presented to you.

Additionally, the longer a student is on the system the more accurate it becomes. Every user has a unique profile which tracks time spent on the system, hour of day that they use the system, how they interact with the system, and countless other unique traits that make a student who they are.

Finally, the system is built to grow upon itself. It is collecting data, both from the students and the lessons, that will help Knewton further define connections between courses, content, and complimentary lessons. These connections can be studied and updated to help continue to improve what Knewton offers each student. This micro-personalization can then lead to an adaptive method of learning that changes education. In fact, the founder and CEO of Knewton, Jose Ferreira, says that this format could lead to the education revolution. I guess we will see soon.

Written by: Travis Taggart
Travis is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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