Knewton Partners with Gutenberg Technology

From Electronic Education Report, Dec. 9, 2013

Knewton (New York) in December forged a partnership with the publishing platform Gutenberg Technology (Paris and New York) to develop and distribute interactive course materials for Apple, Android and Windows tablets and smartphones that include Knewton-powered personalization without additional technical work.

“The significance of this deal is that we are now working with all of these new education companies that are playing integral and important roles in a sea change in education,” Knewton chief operating officer David Liu told EER. “Gutenberg is but one of these new companies and I expect we will be working with others.”

The transformation Liu sees is about how to use data to benefit teachers and students and leverage data in education as powerfully as it is in other industries. Knewton’s mission to personalize digital courses and provide analytics that detect gaps in knowledge and differentiate instruction aligns with the transformation, according to Liu.

In education, it has been difficult to capture and analyze data beyond test scores, Liu said. However as education becomes more digital with content broken down to the concept level, it is possible for companies like Knewton to analyze all the inputs created and personalize content and assessment.

Knewton can provide a learning history that travels with a student, whatever the course or publisher, so they will never be shown content they already have mastered and can have a more efficient learning experience. That is incredibly attractive to partners as it raises the chances of student success, Liu said.

Liu said Knewton is different than other adaptive learning platforms in that it does not rely on pre-determined paths, but on algorithms that continually assess and serve up new recommendations to help students move forward.

The first venture from the Knewton-Gutenberg partnership will be an iPad application to teach French grammar to French middle school students from the French textbook publisher Lelivrescolaire. That initial offering also will be used as proof point as Gutenberg has conversations with publishers on how easy it use to build an application from a digital textbook, Liu said.

“It’s one hurdle to be able to transform your content to digital; it’s a separate hurdle to make the digital content work in a myriad of mobile applications,” Liu said.

Liu sees a growing number of companies building digital applications for education, not only on the content side but also for learning management systems, collaboration platforms and digital course delivery. “We believe our platform and technology can make all these companies’ products more relevant,” he said.