Education

Desire2Learn acquires Knowillage to bring personalized learning to classrooms

Above: Desire2Learn CEO John Baker

Image Credit: Desire2Learn

Education technology startup Desire2Learn just acquired Knowillage for an undisclosed sum.

Desire2Learn has raised the second largest venture round for a Canadian startup, only recently beat by Hootsuite. What this means is that the company has the resources to make strategic acquisitions, and grow its team quickly.

This acquisition is intended to augment Desire2Learn’s existing suite of cloud-based teaching tools. It’a also an excuse for Desire2Learn to open a Vancouver office, as the Knowillage team is based in the heart of British Columbia.

Knowillage is best known for its adaptive learning technology, meaning that it helps teachers tweak lessons plans for each individual student — and not just teach to the middle.

“Schools are struggling with high dropout rates,” said Desire2Learn chief executive John Baker, in an interview. Baker identified Knowillage as an acquisition target, as he says the software can make teachers “be more successful in their jobs.”

Baker doesn’t plan to shutter the product post-acquistition. Instead, he’ll hire about 20 more engineers to build out core offering, and integrate it into Desire2Learn.

Knowillage is best known in the ed-tech market for its Leap product. Leap is an analytics toolset that teachers use to identify gaps in students’ knowledge and understanding.

For instance, a fifth-grade math teacher could use Leap to find out which students have mastered a set of geometry problems — and those who need a bit more help.

Desire2Learn competes with education technology giants like Blackboard and Canvas by Instructure, an open source learning management platform. The company claims its tools are used by 750 clients, primarily school districts, and 10 million learners.