Knewton: Affordable and Accessible Personalized Learning

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Brian Kibby, CEO, KnewtonBrian Kibby, CEO It is no news that all major transformations that have been altering the face of every possible industry in recent years pivot around technology. Although considered to be one of the late adopters of technology, the education sector has undergone a seismic shift upon implementing the latest cutting-edge technologies to boost student engagement and improve the learning process. Be it online courses or automating feedback and scoring, the opportunities for digital learning are now more accessible than ever for more number people all over the world. Today, the new-age classrooms are equipped with advanced technologies in the form of smart boards and tablets as the modern means of learning. Not just that; today digitalization has become so strongly embedded in education that the once futuristic technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality have made their way into the next-generation classrooms. One of the most significant benefits that technology has endowed learners with is customized training, taking into account the requirements of individual students such that it facilitates better outcomes through a more personalized approach to learning.

"One of the most important factors setting Knewton apart from its competitors is its culture of continuous improvement for enhancing customer experience"

Founded in 2008, New York-based Knewton is putting achievement within reach of all learners with adaptive technologies and products that deliver personalized and lasting learning experiences. Educators, schools and universities, and education companies around the globe have partnered with Knewton to power and provide digital courses that dynamically adapt to each student’s unique needs.

Personalized Learning at Fingertips

Knewton has been governed by a mission to personalize learning for the world since its inception. The Knewton team designs the best adaptive technology to deliver a long-lasting impact while making it accessible by all, be it instructors or students. To achieve the same, the company has introduced its newest product—Alta—for higher education. A complete courseware solution, Alta combines Knewton’s expertly designed adaptive learning technology with high quality openly available content, empowering students with a personalized, affordable, and accessible learning experience to bring about better outcomes. The CEO of the company, Brian Kibby, claims, “We’re going after the higher-education market in every major course area,” calling Knewton courseware “something that will take over the marketplace.” Holding more than 20 years of leadership and executive experience in the education industry, Kibby is a passionate driver of digital transformation in education, with extensive experience in personalized learning technology and an unmatched record for generating results.

We designed every aspect of Alta to empower instructors to put achievement within reach for their students, from its affordability and accessibility to its ability to help all learners achieve mastery

He goes on to mention that all of the instructional content, be it text, video, examples, or assessments needed for a course, is included in each alta product. The ingenious learning solution is now available for multiple courses in math, statistics, economics, and chemistry. An integrated and comprehensive course solution, alta is devised to optimize the way students study and learn while completing assignments. All of Alta’s content comprising instructional text or video, examples, and assessments is organized by focusing on learning objective and is served up at the precise moment a student needs it. Instructors can leverage, alta to recognize a student’s knowledge gaps and pain points immediately while completing assignments, providing just-in-time remediation and even reaching back to prerequisite concepts if required. This, in turn, helps students retain, recall, and apply what they are learning during a course.

One of Knewton’s biggest priorities is Making learning accessible to all, both as a company and as a team of people who are passionate about education. As such, Knewton supports a plethora of assistive technologies, such as screen readers (i.e., JAWS) for blind users or users with low vision, magnification tools (i.e., ZoomText), consistent page order and keyboard-only navigation, closed captioning, and many more. “Students and instructors have been taken for granted by textbook publishers for too long. They deserve a better experience at a more affordable price,” says Kibby. “We designed every aspect of Alta to empower instructors to put achievement within reach for their students, from its affordability and accessibility to its ability to help all learners achieve mastery.”

Knewton believes that the cost of course materials should not be a barrier to students’ learning or success in college. As such, Alta utilizes high quality, openly available content, making it extremely affordable for students. In addition, alta is compliant with the WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria and the U.S. Access Board’s Section 508 Standards. Having partnered with Level Access, a leading provider of technology accessibility compliance solutions, Knewton ensures that its product’s accessibility is evaluated and regularly audited. One of Knewton’s client testimonials, by an associate professor of Chemistry from Park University, reads: “I chose alta because it levels the playing field for students. It provides support so that I can engage all students in the classroom. If a student is struggling with mathematical problems, Alta quickly diagnoses that and presents the student with instruction geared toward those knowledge gaps,” speaking volumes the company’s solution.
Keeping the needs of the mobile-first generation in mind, alta’s technology is architected in a way such that students can access it whenever, from wherever, and on whatever mobile device they choose. Alta is an intuitive solution that delivers an unmatched, seamless user experience with modern approaches to everything from logging in, checking progress, to even using 24/7 chat from within alta. Knewton’s adaptive learning technology, underpinning alta, has been used by 15 million learners around the world and hence, has significantly improved at identifying knowledge gaps and remediating them dynamically while students complete their coursework. Alta serves up exactly what a particular student needs at any moment to help him/her progress toward assignment completion, and most importantly learning that lasts.

Fostering a Customer-Centric Culture

One of the most important factors setting Knewton apart from its competitors is its culture of continuous improvement for enhancing the customer experience. From the very outset, the company has been paving the pavement to betterment, looking into the needs of every student and instructor to improve their alta experience. As such, Knewton is constantly driven by the goal to make a powerful impact on learning outcomes by continually optimizing customers’ alta journey. Raising the bar for how learning technology should look and feel, Knewton is working on making alta’s instructor UI even more streamlined and modern. Knewton has also introduced a new analytics dashboard focusing on students first and providing high-level insight into student performance and engagement while providing seamless access to the full history of individual students. Besides, to provide more actionable metrics to instructors, the company has also revamped alta’s coursework analytics dashboard.

In a bid to make learning even more accessible, the Knewton team is enhancing alta’s learning management system (LMS) integration capabilities such as canvas-specific course cartridges and semester migration tools, taking accessibility to new heights. With in-app live chat with Knewton support and supplemental materials for instructors, the company is setting a new standard for customer experience. Furthermore, Knewton has further bolstered its solution with a number of improvements to enable instructors to better prepare and deliver quizzes and exams in alta and help students with new ways to prepare for their exams. Along with that, team Knewton has made several improvements to alta’s content with the goal of providing a more flexible and deeper learning experience leading to better outcomes.

Educators, schools and universities, and education companies around the world use Knewton to power and provide digital courses that dynamically adapt to each student’s unique needs. One area the company is especially eyeing is the corporate-training market, for companies that aim to improve how they offer courses to their employees. Also, Knewton sees K-12 as a potential future market for online textbooks as well. For the future, Knewton is resolute in its ambition to increase alta’s market adoption significantly and deliver on its promise of making learning more accessible and affordable without fail.
- Kenneth Thomas
    June 05, 2019