In Pursuit of the Best Learning Strategies, the Department of Defense Will Study 250,000 of’s Algebra and Physics Tutoring Sessions’s best practices will improve tutoring and training programs provided by the Department of Defense


New York, NY, January 29, 2014 — announced today that it has been selected by the Department of Defense (DoD) to help the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) identify which specific instructional strategies and tactics can be used to improve existing and future tutoring and training programs at the DoD. and DoD will work with researchers from the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS) at the University of Memphis who have expertise in academic data mining and artificial intelligence. The team will analyze about 250,000 anonymized online tutoring sessions completed by’s algebra and physics tutors.

Since 2001, has delivered more than 10 million one-to-one, live tutoring and homework help sessions online. The subset of 250,000 sessions being made available to the DoD are three orders of magnitude greater than what has ever been studied or available to study. The goal is to identify the best practices of’s tutors and translate their successful techniques and strategies into best-of-breed hybrid learning and training models that take advantage of both live, online one-on-one learning, as well as sophisticated online, adaptive modules.

ADL was created by President Clinton in 1999 to ensure that the DoD could take full advantage of technological advances in order to acquire the skills and learning needed to succeed in a changing workplace. Among key initiatives is the Next Generation Learner which includes a vision to create Personal Assistants for Learning (PAL) – a more human, transparent interface for truly adaptive learning.

The DoD already has experience working with as the Morale, Welfare and Recreation General Library Program, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and the Navy General Library Program fund the for Military Families program, which offers expert online tutoring 24/7 at no cost to eligible service members and their families.

“This partnership with provides a unique opportunity to study and analyze hundreds of thousands of discrete tutoring sessions to improve our understanding of remote training techniques, create a schema of learning models and build templates that may be used to automate individualized tutoring," said Frank C. DiGiovanni, Director, Force Readiness and Training, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. "Researchers have never had access to such a large volume of tutoring data before and we think the outcome of this partnership will propel our learning and training programs forward to support not just our armed forces, but learners of all ages across the country.”

“The partnership between ADL,, and IIS is an unprecedented opportunity to extend our understanding of how expert human tutors help students learn, and to apply this knowledge to the development of 21st century systems for personalized learning.” said Dr. Art Graesser, founder and lead scientist for IIS. “We are particularly interested in working with our partners to explore the potential of hybrid systems that adapt to the cognitive, emotional, personal, and social states of learners.”

“We are excited to work with ADL and the Institute for Intelligent Systems to provide a historic amount of valuable data around the magic that happens during one-on-one learning,” said Mandy Ginsberg, the CEO of “We have seen the benefits the model brings to millions of students in regards to concept mastery and higher grades. The opportunity for this research team to gain insights and help create even better experiences for future learning models is an exciting opportunity.”

About is the world's largest and highest-rated online tutoring company with a community of more than 3,000 expert tutors, and more than 10 million one-on-one online tutoring sessions served. Professional tutors are available 24/7 in 40 plus subjects, including AP courses and SAT test prep. Ninety percent of students who use get better grades, feel more confident and complete their homework on time., an IAC company, powers tutoring and homework help programs for the Department of Defense; thousands of public libraries, school districts, colleges and universities; and the states of Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

About IIS

The Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis (IIS) is dedicated to advancing the state of knowledge and capabilities of intelligent systems, including psychological, biological, and artificial systems. By conducting cutting-edge research and publishing its findings in peer-reviewed venues, IIS contributes to the discipline and, ultimately, to the public. In doing so, IIS is also training the next generation of scientists. Its mission depends on an interdisciplinary approach that brings together researchers from many different research areas in the cognitive sciences, including biology, communication sciences & disorders, computer science, education, engineering, linguistics, philosophy, physics, and psychology. Researchers affiliated with the IIS have received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Education Sciences, and numerous other agencies and corporate partners. In 2007, the IIS won the prestigious Academic Excellence Award from the Tennessee Board of Regents. The Institute for Intelligent Systems is located on the fourth floor of the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology.


For more information

Jennifer Kohn, 
212.528.3101 x228 or