This article was originally published by Simba Information and appeared in the Educational Marketer on June 13, 2014. It can be found here. To subscribe to Educational Marketer please visit: www.educationalmarketer.net
Learnosity, a provider of testing technology with roots in Ireland and Australia, in June established a beach-head in the U.S., opening an office in New York. Like Knewton (New York), which made its mark with adaptive learning technology, Learnosity is becoming the go-to technology partner in testing.
With the focus on functionality, Learnosity is a B2B brand marketing to publishers not schools. The toolkit aims to allow publishers to quickly and easily incorporate assessment into any program, as well as to add authoring and reporting capabilities to existing applications, ebooks and websites. The tool kit technology “allows you to get there a lot quicker than with your own development team,” CEO and co-founder Gavin Cooney told EM.
The company mission, Cooney said, is to be at the center of every product that incorporates needs assessment worldwide. Learnosity has worked with Pearson (London/New York), ETS (Princeton, NJ), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Boston) and even Knewton (New York). Learnosity captures the information in adaptive testing and turns it over to the Knewton toolset, which turns it into adaptive learning, Cooney said.
Licensing is based on per-user pricing. The central features of the technology are the embedded nature and modular construct.
In the past year, Learnosity—cloud-based and device agnostic—improved the authoring function and has begun to work on the authoring for science. Secure browsing with Chrome was integrated into the platform for high-stakes testing.
Improvements in the math engine in the past year mean that it can evaluate mathematically and not just with text.
By the Numbers
In May alone, more than 70,000 traditional tests incorporating Learnosity tools were started by students in 91 countries.
And, more than 375,000 assessment questions or groups of questions embedded in the text and delivered inline on the page were activated.
Finding a Niche
A long-tail start-up, Learnosity founders Cooney and chief technology officer Mark Lynch began working as independent contractors in Dublin. By 2002, they were working as consultants on statewide e-learning and assessment projects with the New South Wales Board of Studies in Australia.
Over the next five years, the company worked under various contracts in Australia and Ireland, including a 2007 contract with the Irish government to provide oral assessment using cell phones in schools
As schools turned more to computers, so did Learnosity. “We learned that to get enough market share, we needed to be working with computers, because that was what was being used in schools,” Cooney said.
The company began to change by 2011, after Pearson tapped it to develop a record-button function to capture oral responses for its MyLabs product. In September 2011, Lynch and Cooney pivoted, built the toolkit and dropped the consulting business. “We found our niche and we went for it,” Cooney said.
Nearly three years later with just under $5 million in revenue, Learnosity is generating as much from the toolkit business as it had been from consulting. Cooney said he expects revenue to be $8 million to $10 million next year.
Cooney expects Learnosity to remain focused on the area of assessment but to broaden that focus in relation to product, penetration in the industry and in geography.
Currently focused on the U.S. K-12 market, Cooney ticked off areas of potential expansion: higher education, professional market, corporate exams and the world beyond the U.S.
“Educational publishing will be vastly different in 5-to-10 years and we’ll be part of it,” Cooney said.