Adaptive learning technology comes to STEM courses

The education giant Pearson and the adaptive learning company Knewton have been working together for nearly two years, launching a product powered by Knewton’s technology in the fall of 2012 to help college students in math, reading, and writing courses.

Pearson and Knewton are expanding their adaptive learning courses to include biology and other science courses.

The focus on foundational courses was no accident, and reflects the use of adaptive learning technology as a whole. Now the two companies are pushing the technology in a new direction.

They’re expanding their MyLab and Mastering products to include courses in biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, finance, and accounting. The expansion marks a noted shift toward courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“We’re branching out from the college readiness courses into these pre-professional courses,” said Paul Corey, Pearson Higher Ed’s president of science, business and technology.  “They’re the gateway courses for pre-med, pre-engineering, pre-nursing, pre-business.”

Knewton collects millions of data points from the more than 11 million college students using My Lab and Mastering to inform models that can be broken down to help with individual learning.

If a student is struggling at biology, maybe it’s not because the student is inherently bad at science, but because he never really learned algebra, the data could find.

The software can then recommend additional assignments in that area.

Take our poll on Page 2 and see why Pearson and Knewton are branching out to more advanced courses.

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