|Follow on Twitter as @alisonbcoleman|
The irony is that not so long ago it seemed everyone was worried about kids spending too much time playing computer games instead of doing their homework. However, with the emergence of digital ‘brain training’ platforms such as Lumosity DuoLingo, and Memrise, the ‘screen time versus schoolbooks’ debate seems to be tipping the other way.
Educational computer games are nothing new, at least not for PC users – who could forget MECC’s Number Munchers or Math Blaster Plus? – but as market analysts have predicted, the future of digital learning is mobile, creating an exciting arena for gaming entrepreneurs, and potentially rich pickings for investors.
In the European mobile learning startup arena UnlockYourBrain is attracting a lot of interest. Initially offering vocabulary and mathematics questions, each one takes just two to three seconds to answer, and the app’s algorithm learns from individual users’ answer patterns to ensure that questions are always matched to individual aptitudes.
Founded last year by Berlin-based entrepreneurs Felix Nienstaedt and Simon Smend, this microlearning Android app is notable because it appears to have cracked a problem many of its competitors struggle with; high user drop-off rates.
And they got around that problem by making the learning and brain training app integral to the lock screen of the smartphone. Users have to answer a question every time they unlock their screen. (Although, it can be bypassed by users in a real hurry.)