Competency-Based Learning Platform

Penn Foster Acquires Competency-Based Learning Platform From UniversityNow

December 02, 2015

A Learning Management System and Content Management Tool in One, Newly Acquired Platform is Custom Built to Enhance Student Learning and Enable Superior, Employer-Relevant Outcomes.

Penn Foster Education Group, Inc., announced today its acquisition of a competency-based learning platform that will allow students to work toward gaining competencies that employers are looking for. The tool allows faculty and administrators to focus on helping students build career-ready skills through individualized instruction, self-paced learning and adaptive feedback.

Penn Foster Education Group acquired the learning platform from San Francisco-based UniversityNow Inc., which developed the cutting-edge collaborative technology. Until today, the learning platform had been used solely at Patten University, a UniversityNow affiliated institution. Penn Foster Education Group will be licensing the platform to its educational affiliate, Penn Foster, Inc., for deployment to the 150,000 Penn Foster students who are working to earn diplomas, certificates and post-secondary degrees through educational and training programs.

Dara Warn, Penn Foster Education Group’s chief strategy officer, said that after having assessed many of the learning management solutions in the marketplace over the last few years, the UniversityNow platform clearly stood out as being a “best-in-class” product. The platform has a full range of capabilities essential to effectively delivering more personalized instruction, and can be implemented across a flexible range of content, while enabling students to connect with their peers and instructors on an “anytime and anywhere” basis.

“Our goal is to provide superior value to students and help them attain the relevant academic, professional, and personal competencies that employers value in today’s workplace,” said Warn. “The acquisition of the UniversityNow platform is representative of our commitment. This acquisition allows schools to take a major leap relative to what’s being delivered in the market today.”

“We believe that, applied appropriately, technology can make education more accessible and improve its quality, while significantly lowering costs,” said Bryan Newman, chief executive officer at UniversityNow. “We’re thrilled to transfer our learning and our technology to a trusted organization which is likewise dedicated to supporting personalized instruction to students at every level.”

Warn added: “Our ability to further enhance the value we deliver to our affiliate, Penn Foster, and our partner organizations is tremendous. The platform will help us present a personalized learning roadmap embedded with individualized instruction, self-paced learning, adaptive feedback, and peer-to-peer engagement, all of which will be accessible through mobile. Penn Foster graduates over 25,000 students from its High School each year, and we are excited to be able to deliver the kind of technology that supports individualized asynchronous educational programs on that type of scale.”

About Penn Foster Education Group: Penn Foster Education Group, Inc. is an organization dedicated to developing and acquiring industry leading technologies, tools and resources to support alternative pathways for opportunity youth and adult learners. Focused on enabling education tied to workplace competencies and learner needs, Penn Foster Education Group is at the forefront of design and development of learning platforms and educational content. Penn Foster Education Group is a corporate affiliate of Penn Foster, Inc. which operates three schools – Penn Foster High School, Penn Foster Career School and Penn Foster College. Learn more at

About University Now
UniversityNow’s mission is to make a high quality college education available to everyone who seeks it by building the most affordable and accessible network of accredited universities in the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., UniversityNow operates two online, self-paced universities that offer Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs: Patten University, which is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and New Charter University, which is nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. UniversityNow’s breakthrough learning platform employs a unique model of individualized instruction, self-paced learning, and cutting-edge collaborative technologies designed to facilitate student-to-instructor and peer-to-peer learning and support that is customized to each student’s needs. In addition to providing each student with a personalized learning experience by using a combination of committed faculty and adaptive learning software, tuition at both of UniversityNow’s schools is affordable. As a result, no student has to borrow to afford college.

About Penn Foster Schools
The three Penn Foster Schools – Penn Foster High School, Penn Foster Career School, and Penn Foster College – are operated by Penn Foster, Inc., a corporate affiliate of Penn Foster Education Group. The Schools and their respective programs are nationally and/or regionally accredited and combine affordable career ready education with a flexible delivery model to meet the needs of non-traditional students seeking to improve their life and career opportunities.