2015 Research Work

Kidaptive, Inc.

Mountain View, CA
2015 Winner for Research @ Work Award
About Research @ Work Award

Thoughtfully incorporates research on learning to shape development of a product or initiative.

Provide an overview of the project, practice or product that your video represents, and how your work encompasses the principles and ideals of the award that you're applying for.

Research shows that parent engagement has a huge impact on a child’s life, particularly in the early years. We saw that there weren’t many research-based tools available to help parents support their children in the early-learning development process, so we built Learner Mosaic to address the gap between educational research and real-world practice. Created by an experienced team of learning scientists, developmental psychologists, psychometricians, and educators, our iPhone app provides personalized activity suggestions, conversation starters, and research snippets to help parents enhance learning for their preschoolers. Thousands of hours have been spent reviewing academic literature, assessing activities, and crafting simple and engaging language to explain each recommendation to parents. Each tip is also mapped to one of roughly 75 dimensions in our whole-child early-learning skills framework. The recommendations themselves are personalized for each learner based on data gleaned from both (a) gameplay in Kidaptive’s preschool app Leo’s Pad, which assesses preschoolers’ abilities and feeds back into Learner Mosaic and (b) parents’ answers to questions in Learner Mosaic, which are carefully crafted to capture key insights. But our goal isn’t just to provide information; it’s to help parents improve how they interact with their children. So we also turned to research in behavior change to guide us. For example, when parents answer our first questions in the Learner Mosaic app, we offer an immediate reward by showing them how the information they’ve submitted contributes to their child’s learner profile. From the problem we’re solving, to the way that we’re engaging parents to solve it, to the actual guidance we’re offering in the app, academic research is at the heart of Learner Mosaic.

Explain the long-lasting impact of what you've presented in this video, and provide any qualitative or quantitative data that supports this impact.

Neuroscience research demonstrates that crucial cognitive capacities called executive functions develop rapidly between the ages of 3 and 6 years and have been shown to predict academic achievement even after adjusting for IQ. In fact, these early years are so important to future academic—and thereafter economic and societal—success that Nobel laureate James Heckman writes that our most economically efficient public-policy initiative would be to “invest in the foundation of school readiness from birth to age 5…” Because children’s academic and economic futures depend so heavily on their experiences in the first few years of their lives, it’s great that these are the years when parents have the most power to shape those experiences. The conversations parents have with children, the games they play, and the ways they help children understand their place in the world can have tremendous benefits. We built Learner Mosaic to help parents maximize their positive impact on children’s early-learning development process. Not only are recommendations in the app based on proven research about how children learn, they’re also personalized to each learner, which allows parents to meet children where they are (based what they know and can do) so they can help keep them on the learning edge. By empowering parents, Learner Mosaic empowers a whole new generation of children. The technology behind Learner Mosaic also has the potential to improve traditional education as a whole. Our Adaptive Learning Platform, on which Learner Mosaic is built, is designed to analyze data from multiple learning contexts (both formal and informal) to create a holistic portrait, or “mosaic,” for each learner. This mosaic will eventually allow teachers, parents, and learners themselves to get a much deeper sense for where that learner might most productively go next—whether it’s in the context of school, the community, or the workforce.