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Poke! You Need To Study More. What Facebook’s Open Graph Means For Online Study Groups

A variety of edtech companies are now baked into Facebook’s interface. Will tomorrow’s students be studying in their news feeds?

Poke! You Need To Study More. What Facebook’s Open Graph Means For Online Study Groups
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

When Facebook unveiled its Open Graph program on Wednesday, much of the chatter centered on whether people want to share more details about their choices of music, entertainment, travel, and so on. But how about studying for a test?

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Among Facebook’s 60 or so initial partners are two education plays: textbook company Chegg and Grockit, which has its roots in helping students prepare to take tests.

Grockit Chief Executive Roy Gilbert says his team sees Facebook’s Open Graph as a natural way for students to pull their friends into study circles. “This is something our users have wanted for a long time,” says Gilbert. “They asked us to make it easier for them to ‘bring their friends along.'”

Current Facebook functionality will let Grockit users share what they’re studying as well as achievements such as badges they earn for work on Grockit.

Another crucial element will be the ability for students to study in “private” groups on Facebook, says Gilbert. “It will be a private study room, with its own URL and content. It will be a place that exists forever, something you can park within Facebook,” he adds.

Private study groups won’t be ready for about a year, he says. But it points to a fascinating divergence in approaches to learning from two companies that both got a start in test prep.

Knewton, for instance, is developing learning tools that aim to assess what a student does–or doesn’t–know. Based on analyzing large amounts of data, Knewton hopes to adaptively deliver just the right content to help a student learn. Grockit, by contrast, is going down the social path, building on the idea that social, collaborative learning is an engaging way to learn.

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Smarter software; more supportive study groups. Surely we’ll learn a lot along the way.