Thursday, February 20, 2014

Knewton's Adaptive Learning Platform

By: Sean Scarpiello

As technology continues to move into the classroom, it can be easy for students to feel as if they are not receiving an individualized education. When completing traditional types of homework assignments, teachers are able to review the thought processes of students, but now technology has made it difficult for teachers to understand their students’ thought processes. While technology can track a student’s progress, teachers often struggle with interpreting each student’s reasoning in answering questions because computers can only show teachers what questions were answered correctly and incorrectly. However, a company called Knewton has designed a plan based on adaptive learning.

In adaptive learning technologies such as Knewton, learning platforms track the progress of each individual student as they complete different assignments. Knewton’s learning platform studies the logic and reasoning that each student uses in formulating their answers. Using this data, Knewton develops a profile for each student, then begins to note where students excel and where their weaknesses lie. Knewton then integrates questions into students’ assignments that are meant to challenge yet improve students’ weaknesses. For example, if a student is struggling at word problems in physics, Knewton challenges students with questions that focus on improving critical reading skills. As a result, students can better understand how to interpret these word problems leading to their success.

So far, Knewton has been extremely successful in building a learning platform used by students at all levels. Knewton excels in subjects such as math, chemistry, biology, physics, finance, sociology, and more. In addition, Knewton’s learning platform has been used in a number of colleges and they have most recently teamed up with Pearson to reach out to even more students. In fact, the Knewton and Pearson partnership is currently being implemented at Arizona State University at a cost of $100 per student. This may seem a lot; however, this $100 fee replaces the costs of a textbook which is not needed in the program. This is a huge benefit for both companies as they can reach a massive number of students through technology that builds highly individualized education for each student.

Adaptive learning technologies such as Knewton will definitely benefit students as they bring highly individualized education to a large number of students through the use of technology that students already own. Further, Knewton’s and Pearson’s recent partnership empowers students even more as they learn the latest class material on one of the most innovative education technologies on the market today at a reasonable cost.


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