How Knewton Showed the World That Personalization is Worth Millions

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Your web content is your window.

Producing excellent marketing content translates to real dollars in the field of education. Just ask Knewton.

New York-based Knewton is “unbundling education”, according to its founder and CEO Jose Ferreira. And everyone from Microsoft to Pearson is going to help them do it.

How are they unbundling? By personalizing learning for all students in the classroom.

The teachers reading have heard this before. But how can anyone personalize learning for 30 kids in 50 minutes? Six times a day?

Modern engineering, of course.

By collecting data on student decisions in heuristics (or experiential, question-based problem-solving), algorithms can provide students with the best next logical step for their personal learning capabilities.

Essentially, Knewton is breaking down the classroom into smaller, more manageable concepts and skills, and then providing those concepts and skills to students in ways that work for them.

It’s a step towards unbundling our system. But it’s not Knewton’s original idea. Plenty of others have had it before.

But Knewton markets it the best.

The guys and girls at Knewton (they’re called Knerds) don’t even build the content. They use schools’ texts and digital content. And they also don’t build the software. They use outside engineering companies to do that. Knewton crunches the data, and then makes recommendations.

And yet they’ve convinced the best minds and companies in education today that their recommendations are supreme.

Why is Knewton able to do this?

Because they produce authentic copy. A quick look at their blog will show you that Knewton endeavors to be uniformly transparent in its message. Knerds are given the opportunity to explain how they came to Knewton; then, they offer free content on “making sense of data” or “personalizing history class”. They offer teases of their product, and then invite you to find out more.

If their last round of venture capital fundraising was any indication ($51 million), their message will only gain steam.

Authenticity sells.

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