Knewton (LAEP Inventory)

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Ferguson
27 May 2016


Knewton is an adaptive learning software company that provides platforms for personalised education. The company was founded in 2008 and formed a partnership with Pearson Education in 2011. At present, over ten million students have used their adaptive learning platforms at the primary, secondary and university levels. Many programs are available at different educational levels, and Knewton often works with schools or universities to create custom platforms that fit their institutional needs. From a student perspective, the program uses algorithms based on student performance and behaviours to suggest lessons via differentiated instruction, as well as provide students with information about their progress. It incorporates immediate feedback, community collaborative forums and gameification to encourage participation. From an educator perspective, the program allows for data summarisation and visualisation on the classroom or individual student level. Using a ‘stop light’ color coding system, students are categorised for interventions as ‘ahead of track,’ ‘on track,’ ‘off track’ or ‘very behind.’ Learning profiles are also created for individual students, which highlight strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences. For publishers of academic content, data can be used to better understand how students interact with course materials in real classrooms.


Inventory type:

smart system

Role of analytics:



Summarisation & description

Data sources:

uses own data


Adaptive learning


Tool in Context


School, post-compulsory

Supply model:

self-hosted server software


TEL vendor

Ethics and privacy:

At present, little information is available about privacy and ethics. This is likely to vary by institution.



Maturity and Evidence of Utility

Knewton is perhaps the most established adaptive learning software, and partners with big names in the education world, such as Pearson Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the tech world, such as HP and Microsoft. However, considering the vast number of students using their platforms, only a limited amount of evidence is promoted on the Knewton website at both the school and university level. For example, it is argued that an increase in retention was seen at Arizona University from 64% to 75%, however the student cohorts examined were of varying size -- 2,419 students without Knewton program and 1,565 with the program -- and cohorts studied the courses in different academic years. In some cases, linked white paper results are hidden behind a sign-up wall. Other linked results are not provided in English, meaning an analysis of their claimed evidence of use is not possible. Thus, more rigorous research is needed, perhaps through a randomised control trial, are needed to demonstrate maturity of the platform.

Further Information

Tool provider’s website:

Platform summary white paper:

Technical white paper:


Informal account:

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