When I started Knewton in 2008, there were hardly any venture capital investors interested in edtech companies. Explaining what we did wasn’t easy back then. I couldn’t find anyone else even using the term “adaptive learning,” and it took a lot of effort to explain what Knewton meant by it.
Now it seems “adaptive learning” has become education’s hottest buzzword. It’s gratifying to see the industry embrace personalized learning. But along with the increased popularity of these ideas has come increased ambiguity — today it’s not uncommon to hear someone offer or claim to offer “adaptive learning,” but no one is defining it the same way.
Part of the problem is the range of adaptive systems out there. It’s fairly easy to rig up a system that is a little bit adaptive — that picks what practice questions a student sees based on her performance on previous questions. It’s much harder to do the kind of deep data mining that Knewton does, in order to provide concept-level adaptivity not just on practice questions but on any and all learning material.
Our new white paper clarifies what Knewton means by adaptive learning, and the theories that drive our work. Take a look, and as always, drop us a line if you have questions!
-Jose Ferreira, Knewton Founder & CEO