Founder of Adaptive Learning Company Knewton to Leave CEO Position

The chief executive officer of adaptive learning products-provider Knewton has announced he will step down after founding the global company eight years ago.

But CEO Jose Ferreira said he will remain on the company’s board of directors to help oversee the organization’s continued growth.

“I wanted to prove to the world that adaptive learning was possible, would improve learning outcomes, and was the inevitable future of course materials,” he said in a statement.”But after nearly a decade, I need a break.”

Knewton’s chief technology officer, Ryan Prichard, has been appointed the new president and acting CEO of the company.

Founded in 2008, Knewton has served more than 13 million students around the world through partnerships with education publishers and its own personalized learning platforms, which create “learner profiles” of student users. The company’s adaptive platform makes recommendations for student learning activities based on student performance, and also offers analytics and analysis of digital content.

As its size and profile have grown, Knewton and its advanced analytical process have also drawn scrutiny from those who fear its creation of profiles will lead to an erosion of student privacy.

Others worry that platforms like Knewton’s can encourage the use of overly simplistic or regimented academic portraits of students and their needs, rather than more holistic ones.

Knewton has often worked closely with education publishers, announcing earlier this year, for example, that it would partner with publishing giant Pearson to personalize K-12 math with an adaptive digital curriculum.

In February, Knewton said its learning platform would power Pearson’s enVisionMATH curriculum to tailor core instruction for each student. Pearson and Knewton first began working together in 2012.

The company has also been aggressively expanding internationally, with a particular focus on Asian markets. Earlier this year, Knewton raised $52 million in capital to accelerate the roll-out of personalized learning solutions for students and to build its infrastructure for continued expansion in foreign countries.

The company currently has partnerships with education companies in about 20 countries from Europe to Latin America. In 2015, Knewton announced collaborations in both China and Japan.


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