Monthly Archives: February 2015

Learning Unintentionally vs. Stopping to Learn

One way to make a distinction between learning strategies is: 1) the learner is unaware of the topics she is learning; 2) underlining the topics, making sure that the learner knows what the learning goal at hand is.

In learning games the former is well manifested in Dragonbox. Dragonbox’s value proposition is, that it “secretely teaches algebra”. The gamer can in retrospect be told about the topics she learned, but she does not need that information when playing the game. I really like Dragonbox and encourage you to try it too!

Bingel adopts the other strategy. The topics are visible and the learner literally stops for each exercise. He typically selects the answer he thinks is correct (1st click), then pushes the button saying ‘ok’ (2nd click), and finally clicks the ‘next’ button to go move forward (3rd click). A user interface designer might say that this is not a fluent design choice, that you should manage with two clicks, even one.

(I am working with Bingel now, since we are bringing it to Finland. It was originally created at VAN IN in Belgium, and lately also localized in Sweden by Sanoma Utbildning, both our sister companies at Sanoma Learning.)

I discussed this theme with experts at VAN IN. Having the learner to spend time with each exercise is indeed on purpose. It forces to stop to reflect the answer. So in this case the didactical principles override the common design principles such as the fewer the clicks in a user interface the better.

Bingel lets the learner be in control at all times. That is why he first selects the answer, then has time to consider whether it was right or not before pressing ‘ok’. Then comes the feedback, where the learner’s own avatar appears to tell whether he got it right or not. In the case of a wrong answer, the avatar can also give hints on solving the exercise.

Having the learner to be in control of the pace he moves on is good for his working memory*. It also helps in cases where more than one learner are jointly solving exercises. They can discuss their candidate answers and the feedback before moving on.

* Check a research paper on this topic [PDF].

Mobile Games to Enrich Primary School Materials

I am super excited about the two new mobile games to enrich Sanoma Pro’s existing materials. Both collaborations are graduates of the EnhancEDU startup program.

The first of them, Ihmepupu* (in English Wonderbunny), is a mathematics game where a rabbit dashes trough colorful scenes while completing exercises. The other one is called Peikkoleiri* (Goblin Camp). It is a Finnish grammar game for natives, where the goblin has to prove knowledge of spelling, compound words, etc. in order to advance.

Both games are in Finnish and for Finnish pupils (although there is a common core aligned version of Wonderbunny in English). They are based on Sanoma Pro’s Finnish K-12 curriculum aligned content. Ihmepupu follows the structure of the Kymppi method, whereas Peikkoleiri is based on our Välkky method.

Currently Ihmepupu is for 1st graders and Peikkoleiri for 3rd graders, but both are looking for rolling out new also grade levels. At least Fantastec, the creator of Ihmepupu, is planning to launch also 2nd and 3rd grade games still during the spring of 2015.

Check out the introduction videos of these two fine games, and find the download links for both below (for Android and iOS, respectively). Enjoy!

Välkky 3 Peikkoleiri

Android, Google Play

iOS, App Store


Kymppi – Ihmepupun kuntorata

Android, Google Play

iOS, App Store

* Complete names for the games: Kymppi – Ihmepupun kuntorata and Välkky 3 Peikkoleiri.