SmartyPal | Research Results
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Not just based on science, validated by science.

Researchers at the University of Delaware, Temple University, and Vanderbilt University have shown that SmartyPal’s interactive, story-based games help children learn vocabulary words faster and retain the knowledge.


The research study:

SmartyPal collaborated with researchers from some of the country’s best psychology and education research labs to create a touchscreen vocabulary learning game that children played individually. The researchers then independently tested the game to see if children actually learned the new vocabulary words the game taught.

This research is an important test of our core philosophy that technology can help power learning in context and through active participation.

According to the researchers:

“The findings are preliminary but promising! In one study, 29 middle-class preschoolers who played the game knew almost twice as many words immediately afterward than children who didn’t play the game. But can children retain this knowledge over a longer period of time?”

“In a second study, 33 low-income children in preschool classrooms played the game four times over four weeks before being tested in a fifth week. Even with a one-week delay between playing and testing, children gave better definitions for the words after playing the game than they did before.”

“These studies show that children can learn vocabulary from well-designed, digital games that use principles from the science of learning to promote active, minds-on learning.”


Presented at the Cognitive Development Society meeting in October 2017 in Portland, OR.

What our Director of Learning Science has to say:

Brian Verdine, Ph.D.

“What we do has always been ‘based on’ science.  Now we have actual evidence that kids learn from our tech.  This kind of evidence is unfortunately uncommon in the ed-tech industry.  Even better, our evidence comes from IES-funded research led by world-class researchers.  As a designer and educator, it’s a dream come true.”

“What is exciting is that the effect sizes they report are large and are from a small amount of playing.  That means they are relevant for education.  The effects are big enough to be worthy of attention.”

“The game got results in a lot of different contexts.  They tested in labs and schools, with families from a range of incomes and from different regions of the US.  The technology works for a lot of different children.”

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