What Makes a Good Educational App? (Part 1)
The themes for these blog posts have been to emphasise how vital the content of an app is and how it may benefit the learner using it. We have discussed how an educational app should suit the learner and match their needs on their educational journey, so now we explore the key attributes associated in making a good educational app.
In the previous blog, we talked about the importance of an app being of high quality and providing value in terms of its content. Now to delve deeper, below are the six factors we have identified as benchmarks for judging an educational app as a whole in terms of the user:
A single blog will be dedicated to each element listed above in order to gain some depth and understanding of why it proves to be an important factor.
“Motivates and engages learners”
The prospect of using the app should be exciting for the learner. Holding his or her attention should be the app’s ultimate goal. With the amount of transient attention increasing it is essential that an emphasis is placed on the quality of apps to increase the levels of selective sustained attention of the learner. We have been more overwhelmed with choices available to us than ever before. We cannot be engaged in one sphere long enough, before another seemingly better version of a product encapsulates us.
In other words, our attentions spans are valuable and the things we indulge in should acknowledge this and help bring us “bang for our buck”, as it were.
Therefore, the first quality an app should have is its ability to motivate and engage the learner/user. For apps, this usually means specific gamification. Gamification simply means turning the content into a game format which will challenge the user as well as provide rewards and incentives for completing levels etc., and equally as important, expose them to failure on a small scale. So when focusing on a certain age group such as children this can be an excellent method of engaging them for long periods of time with a beneficial outcome in the end of acquiring knowledge.
We touched on the benefits of a quality app in the last blog and in it we discussed that apps have social and emotional benefits as they prepare the learner for social situations. The failure faced in the gamification aspect of the app will encourage the user to exceed previous levels of achievement they have obtained so far as it is appropriately challenging.
Specific gamification then means that the app should suit the learner’s needs in terms of curriculum/achievement level etc. but be challenging enough through the use of ‘levels of difficulty’ and rewards to retain attention and encouragement to better themselves.
Additionally, the chance to compare their learning to others (whether domestically or internationally) through leaderboards will help engage them and create a sense of competitiveness. This social factor alone is enough to make learners strive to achieve further by obtaining more than the fellow app users.
Engaging learner’s today is no easy feat. To summarise, for an educational app to engage and motivate the learner, it must posses an element of progression and gradual growth of difficulty by the use of ‘levels’, as well as offer social capabilities by allowing users to rank against other learners to encourage healthy competition through learning. This will not only retain the learners’ attention for a long period of time but they will also enjoy the learning process.
The Educational App Store has various apps which incorporate a range of learning styles and are progressional in educating the user while providing adequate feedback. Click here to check out these amazing apps.
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