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Learning Analytics: 9 Startups to Watch in 2018

  • 5 February 2018
  • Walter Couture

The field of education has progressed far beyond the class testing and grading on the curve of past traditions. With the advance of technology, the goal is now to better understand the individual, how he or she learns best, what context works best, what are her individual challenges and needs, and how will she do in the future.

It's all about personal measurement and analytics that lead, not only to academic performance improvement but also behavioral support, risk identification, intervention and counseling where appropriate.

The use of technology facilitates a personalized learning environment where individual analytics create a model of predictive success or failure. And that environment includes teachers, content, materials, and delivery methods.

It also includes schools, support staff, educational publishers, course designers and anyone else affecting the learning landscape. Analytics are being developed so educational organizations and educators can more effectively design and implement the courses, tools and engagement practices that optimize learning for each student.

Here are some of the learning analytics startups that are using technology to help improve student learning outcomes through advanced data collection and analysis.

Civitas Learning

Founded in 2011 by Charles Thornburgh and Mark Milliron, and based in Austin, Texas, Civitas Learning offers a cloud-based, predictive analytics platform that delivers insights to the frontlines of education.

The goal of Civitas Learning is to help college students graduate by analyzing course loads and by supplying innovative interventions like nudge emails and improved advisory techniques.

The company’s learning platform uses predictive modeling to identify students at risk. It focuses on student engagement, persistence and completion to improve college attendance, retention, and graduation rates.

Illume – Civitas Learning


Founded in 2012 by Rob Mancabelli and Hisham Anwar, BrightBytes provides a SaaS-based data analytics platform to build a modern learning environment, focusing on four basic frameworks that measure the effects of technology in a school.

The company’s analytics model includes classroom evaluation of how teachers and students use technology for learning. It studies the availability of devices and Internet access throughout the school and at home. It measures the skill levels of teachers and students with multimedia. And it evaluates the school culture, professional development, and technology needs across the organization.

BrightBytes customers say it improves the development of multimedia professionals and creates a better learning environment for their students.



Backed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and its research on cognitive and learning science, Acrobatiq is a learning optimization company that develops Open Learning Initiative courseware helping higher education students, faculty and organizations deliver measurable improvements in learning outcomes.

Insights developed from student learning data gives educators detailed information on which learners need help and what kind of help.

Learning analytics capture and model both behavioral data (i.e. page views, logins, etc.) and learning data from students’ performances to generate real-time predictive learning estimates for each student.

The Learning Dashboard – Acrobatiq

Panorama Education

Founded in 2012 by Xan Tanner, Aaron Feuer, David Carel, Panorama Education provides a SaaS survey platform used by hundreds of U.S. school districts, charter networks, and state governments to conduct surveys of students, parents, teachers, and staff. These surveys create 360 perspectives on educational systems.

The company believes that stakeholder feedback is a powerful professional development tool, and when surveys are done correctly, educational evaluations are more fair and effective.

Student Survey – Panorama Education

Renaissance Learning

Founded by Judi Paul and Terry Paul, Renaissance Learning is a pre-K-12 assessment and learning analytics company with a presence in more than a third of U.S. schools and 60 countries.

It helps educators plot students along a research-validated learning path so that students can make progress to the height of their potential.



Founded in 2011 by Kim Jacobson and Steve Schoettler, Junyo provides data-analytics technology to businesses in the education space. These are white label-solutions that help companies and their educational clients understand engagement of students and teachers.

Junyo also runs Junyo Streams, a classroom-facing tool that uses the company’s back-end analytics to empower teachers to develop more personalized content. Schools, districts, and special-needs groups are able to license Streams directly.

Streams (Flagship product) – Junyo

Education Analytics

Founded in 2012, Education Analytics is a non-profit that began as an outgrowth of Dr. Rob Meyer's work on school and educator effectiveness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The company uses demographic data to predict how students will do on standardized testing under the guidance of “average” teachers. The results of that test are compared with what really happens, and the comparisons are used to analyze the impact of teachers, grade-level teams, and practices during the learning period.

This is an excellent example of the use of non-traditional data collection and predictive analytics to alter and improve the course of American education.

Growth Model – Education Analytics


Founded in 2008 by Jose Ferreira, Knewton is one of the leading adaptive learning technology providers. The company draws on research into psychometrics, cognitive learning theory, item response theory, and intelligent tutoring systems to create digital curricula that dynamically adapt to each student’s individual needs.

Knewton measures a student’s understanding of every concept and makes recommendations to students for exactly what to study. And it provides analytics to teachers so they can better support each student.

It also goes a step further than other providers by making recommendations to publishers with content insights to develop better products.

Learning Analytics – Knewton

DreamBox Learning

Founded in 2004 by Lou Gray, DreamBox Learning is an online software provider that offers elementary mathematics education through its Intelligent Adaptive Learning platform as a complement to classroom learning.

DreamBox adapts to student actions and provides personalized instructions that help students with decision-making and learning strategies. It also supports welcome engagement through an innovative game-like environment. Learning can be fun, and technology can help.

Through the use of formative learning analytics, teachers gain insights into learning progress and obstacles, and integrate lessons and digital tools into their classroom practice.

All these disruptive analytics providers are contributing to the retooling of our educational system. The future of education will include the use of technology-driven analytics to guide personal navigation of instructional content, personal attention, direction and support of teachers, and comprehensive evaluations of instructional methods and materials for a true student-centric learning experience.

About Walter Couture

Walter is an award-winning writer and blogger; former K12 teacher, corporate and college executive. Managed $100 million sales force for Monster.com. Received BA in Psychology from University of Minnesota, MA in Teaching & Learning with Technology from Ashford University.