Education services company Pearson has introduced a new personalized digital-tutoring service that tries to "gamify" the classroom, and by the classroom, it means, specifically, outside the classroom.
Alleyoop was introduced in February, and is releasing the next phase of its product: a 2.0 version that takes into account the data provided by the 30,000 student beta testers who have been using the service since February.
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The goal of Alleyoop is to help teens become better prepared for college by tailoring its online experience to each student's learning needs. As middle and high school students interact with the gamified math content, the program adapts to supply lessons and practice problems that best fit their needs.
In addition to learning from each student's behavior on the site, Alleyoop asks students to complete offline "missions," such as talking to people about certain topics, and then report their experiences back to Alleyoop. Down the road, the startup hopes to incorporate data from other online platforms, such as test prep and grade management programs.
Like a video game, Alleyoop attempts to motivate students to drive forward by informing them of their progress.
The service comes at a time of an increasing number of public policy problems concerning the nation's higher education shortfalls. The college dropout rate in the U.S. has become so dire that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has lambasted the Obama Administration for doing little to improve it.
Alleyoop aims to step in where public policy has failed.
"Our goal with Alleyoop is that students' experience on the site feels very personalized and very adaptive," says Patrick Supanc, Alleyoop's president. "So every time they're doing something, achieving something -- either successfully or unsuccessfully -- the system is adapting to them with recommendations for their performance."