What Makes a Good Educational App? (Part 2)
Part II: Charts and tracks progress
The preceding blogs have discussed how a quality educational app must motivate the learner and engage through a variety of ways.
Following on from this, the next crucial element needed to is the app’s ability to track and chart the user’s progress.
One of the most important aspects of engaging learner’s is the opportunity to progress through levels in the ‘gamification’ of their learning. This way they are able to feel a sense of improvement. A good example of a company that works like this is SkoolBo, a learning company that teaches through games. It uses improvement in numeracy and literacy as a metric for helping students learn.
An important part of that feeling of improvement for the learner is to have visual proof of his/her achievements. That is, there should be tangible evidence to reassure the learner’s feeling for instance, in the form of ‘stars’. The collection of these ‘stars’ will encourage the learners to persist until they achieve a level of satisfactory attainment.
Research from the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) established that learner’s retain better, develop awareness and make sound decisions when their progress is tracked.
At present, the novelty of mobile educational games (or Serious Games) means standards are still being developed to classify these apps. However, there are a few systems in place to put some guidelines around educational learning through games. The most practical of these was developed by Pivec and Moretti, who created a system to sort games in terms of their learning objectives. By doing this, they showed the importance of evaluating educational games with regards to their specific learning objectives.
The classification organizes games along the following main categories:
• Memory/Repetition/Retention (factual knowledge);
• Dexterity/Spread/Precision (sensorial knowledge);
• Applying Concepts/Rules (translating knowledge into new context);
• Decision-making (strategy & problem-solving);
• Social Interaction/values/cultures (understanding the social environment of others);
• The ability to learn/self-assessment (evaluation).
Hence, a quality educational app should reinforce the learner’s achievements. This relates back to the suitability of an app to the user’s needs. A measure of their progression through charting is important because it puts a value to the learning curve. For instance if the learner has got to level 4 division in their math’s educational app, a parent or teacher can quantify their learning as the previous 3 levels would have covered addition, subtraction and multiplication.
And this will improve their sense of confidence in the subject as well. As the learner progresses and sees in visual form his/her own development, a determination to persevere and learn through the different levels overcomes any fear they might have of the subject.
In summary, showing the learner their progress is extremely important in an educational app. A quality app will not only motivate the learner through progression, levels and engaging content but by updating them on their progress as they advance further in their learning. By doing this, it shows a commitment to helping the user retain information better and become a better learner in the long run.
The Educational App Store has various apps which chart the learner’s advancement in an assortment of subjects ranging from geography and history to science and health & fitness. Click here to check out these amazing apps.