Pearson acquires Learning Catalytics; cloud-based education tech

The educational publishing giant continues on its recent spree of technology-focused acquisitions.

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Screenshot courtesy Learning Catalytics

Pearson, the British publishing giant best known for its educational bent, announced yesterday that it has acquired Learning Catalytics, a cloud-based learning analytics and assessment system developed in the U.S.

The terms were not disclosed.

Learning Catalytics' aim is to use instant feedback and peer-to-peer engagement to improve student comprehension of topics. The company's system makes it possible for faculty to receive responses to open-ended or critical thinking questions in real time, determine which areas require further explanation, and automatically group students for further discussion and problem solving.

In other words, instructors can better understand—while lecturing, in real time—the performance of their students and adjust accordingly. This concept has been called the "flipped classroom." 

The Learning Catalytics system is rather flexible in that it handles numerical, algebraic, textual and graphical responses. It was developed by entrepreneur Eric Mazur, engineer Brian Lukoff and social scientist Gary King of Harvard University.

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For Pearson, the value of the company is obvious: more analytics and insight around learning data. It dovetails nicely with recent acquisitions of Certiport (digital literacy) and EmbaNetCompass (online learning) and the launch of its own ed tech incubator, dubbed Catalyst.

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