Study shows Khan Academy Kids application improves pre-literacy skills
In a randomized controlled trial, the researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst recruited 49 four- and five-year-old preschoolers and their primary caregiver, 45 mothers and four fathers. Families had an annual median income of $24,000.
Before the study started, children’s preliteracy skills were assessed using the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL). Children were randomly assigned to use either Khan Academy Kids application or control applications.
Khan Academy Kids group was encouraged to use the applications 20 minutes per day. The control group was not given any specific instructions on use.
Researchers say: “In both groups, we actively guarded against overuse and increasing children’s total screen time, planning use with parents to replace rather than add to children’s screen time.”
After 10 weeks, children were tested again. Results were astonishing: Khan Academy Kids group TOPEL scores went from 34th percentile to 47th percentile (national average).
As the article from Khan Kids mentions: “The size of the gains is as large as those found by expensive interventions. For example, the phonological gains are comparable to those found in an intervention of 25 one-on-one sessions with a professional tutor. ”
Let that sink in: 25 one-on-one sessions with a private tutor show the same progress as 20 minutes per day using a free application.
From what I have read, these results are currently under peer review. When/if results will be published in a journal publication, that would mean there is a very cheap and highly efficient early academic intervention.
What is even more interesting about the study is that parents reported getting ideas for teaching from the application and enjoyed using the Khan Academy Kids application.
“Parent-rated academic interest also significantly increased for the experimental group compared to the control group.”
If you are looking for a mobile application that brings real educational value, Khan Academy Kids is my number one recommendation.