What Makes a Good Educational App? (Part 3)
Part III: Adapts task to fit learner’s ability level
The 3rd installation in our 6-part blog series will focus on an educational app’s ability to adapt the tasks to fit the learner’s ability level.
If you missed Part 1, click HERE.
If you missed Part 2, click HERE.
At the end of the last blog, we summarized the importance of tracking the learners’ progress to encourage continued improvement and provide a sense of confidence and achievement.
This blog will pinpoint how an app’s activities should befit the appropriate point of learning the user has got to. This topic was briefly discussed in a previous POST where the importance of an app matching the learner’s needs was emphasized. Today’s piece will serve as an extension of that blog.
The foremost factor to consider is the individual differences of each learner. Aside from the socio-economic background playing a part, learner’s are now from a variety of cultural backgrounds. The growing globalisation of the world is reflected in the classroom. A mix of eastern/ western and 1st to 3rd world influences means the activities learner’s partake in have to be adapted to varying degrees in ability.
Included in these differences is the learning style of the learner. Educational scientists have outlined a number of learning styles that are found in education, but the most prominent of these styles is the following 3: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.
Visual learning is to do with acquiring knowledge through graphic means i.e. pictures, maps etc. Sound and acquiring information audibly is how a student with an auditory learning style would best learn and finally, a kinaesthetic learner is one who learns physically and uses their body to aid learning.
For the most effective approach to adapting an app to the differing ability levels, it must include some form of all 3 learning styles so as not to exclude any type of learner.
The app has to clearly show that it is not concerned with a mass approach to providing content but can give learners appropriate challenges in their preferred method of learning.
Another important factor to consider from an educational app is it’s pace of instruction. In acknowledging the variety in learning styles, the speed at which a learner grasps information is also paramount. What this means for an app is that it cannot progress at a pace that may:
(i) exceed the curriculum needs of the learner
(ii) confuse the learner as a result of irrelevant content or unstructured progression
(iii) restrict the learner’s ability to progress in terms of not addressing learning difficulties.
A major part of adjusting to different learner’s abilities is being aware of learning difficulties. From dyslexia and ADHD to dyspraxia and autism, there are some severe mental prohibitions that stop learner’s achieving their full potential. By creating apps that work around learning difficulties as well, an app can differentiate itself in terms of the value it brings and its recognition as a quality provider.
To sum up, creating content that is generic is a recipe for disaster. An educational app that warrants a description as quality will bring out the best in students by appealing to their preferred learning style and giving them the opportunity to excel regardless of limitations, at their own pace.