Which learning app is the right one for my child?

There are so many learning apps available, many parents are asking "How do I pick the right one for my child?" BYJU's is just the most visible of these learning apps.

This article is about how a parent should think about a learning app and its impact on the child's results. But before I get into the pros and cons of different apps, I am going to take a couple of steps back to talk about how we learn, which part of that process is likely to have a gap, and therefore which approach will give the child the most value.

Whether we like it or not, exams are an integral part of our education system, and a student must take each concept through a number of steps, eventually culminating in exam readiness, and performance.

1. Understand

In this step the concept is introduced to the student, and explained in detail. Typically this happens in school, followed by strengthening of the understanding by the coaching class teacher. This is the space in which many of the learning apps operate. BYJUs is a good example. One of the key features of BYJUs is engaging videos that explain the concept in innovative ways. Other online platforms like Merit Nation and Topper Learning provide explanatory content in similar ways - videos, text etc. Khan academy is a free resource that explains concepts, but their content may not be strictly curated for our boards like CBSE and ICSE. Does your child have the time to go through multiple videos to find what they need?

2. Apply

This step deepens the understanding through application and demonstration of the concept. It generally involves solving some problems, answering questions, homework and assignments. This step is typically implemented in schools and coaching classes, and goes hand in hand with the "Understand" step. In learning apps this is usually accomplished through a short quiz or test after a video lesson. Some apps may give you practice papers to solve.

3. Retain

The Retain step is the domain of "self-study" and is almost always the primary responsibility of the student. However well a child does the first two steps, this is the step that often determines exam performance. Unfortunately the child has very little help in this step and most children use ineffective methods like reading and reading the book and notes. For this step to be effective, it must involve intelligent repetition of questions, active recall of concepts, and a feedback loop to break the "illusion of preparation". In previous generations, this step was accomplished through kids studying together and testing each other with questions. I have not come across a learning app other than FlashCardz that helps with this step.

4. Perform

This is where the rubber meets the road - a child takes a test or exam, and finds out how well prepared she is. The typical pattern is that the first two steps are done well, but the "Retain" step is not. This creates an "illusion of preparation" which is broken in the exam leading to frustration and low confidence. Practice for this step comes from school tests, tests given by coaching classes, and test series. Many learning apps including FlashCardz help in this step by giving online tests and quizzes.

The uniqueness of the FlashCardz system is that it focuses on step-3, through proven, research based techniques to make self study time more effective.

So which learning app is best for your child? You have to decide based on where the gap is.
  • If your child goes to a good school and coaching class, there are good teachers who will help her understand the concepts. Most learning apps will only be a repetition of the work at school, and will focus largely on step-1. However if your child is weak in concepts, or her school does not have great teachers, online apps like BYJUs, Merit Nation, and others might work well for her. That is why we have heard mixed reviews from our subscribers about other learning apps they have used. Sometimes the app they choose does not solve the problem they have.
  • FlashCardz helps your child with self-study, and we have found it to be useful for almost all kids - whatever their level of performance. This system replaces conventional self-study methods - reading and rereading books, highlighting text, and making notes - with innovative question/answer sessions with a digital companion. This method saves time, and makes learning more durable.
  • Test series are generally made available by coaching classes towards the end of the year, and give the child a good feel for the exams. They are useful, but only cater to step-4 in the learning process. 
So our recommendation is - please evaluate where in the learning cycle your child needs help, and then invest in a learning app accordingly. 10th board exams are a stressful time for the child, and there is a lot to do. Buying an online app and pushing your child to use it may be counterproductive if the app does not address the specific gap in the child's learning process.

Still in doubt? Write to us at info@flashcardz.in or call us at 80802-44981 for a chat.


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