By carefully logging students’ every action online, a company called Knewton says, it can personalize questions and lessons to help people learn faster. Skeptics say that’s not proven.
Although the intricacies of human psychology may never be fully explained, Internet companies seem to have some parts of it figured out. By tracking millions of users, Google, Facebook, and the gaming company Zynga have learned how to position every “I agree” button, text box, and virtual cow to entice people to click.
A company called Knewton, in New York City, is now trying to use similar techniques in service of an arguably more laudable goal—helping students learn faster.