The Math Academy curriculum and pedagogy leverage cutting-edge cognitive learning theory. Why? Because it’s been studied extensively, backed up and proven to work. We aren’t providing edu-tainment. This isn’t enrichment. This is real work for a student who is serious about learning math. We expect every student using our system to actually master the material, and do it efficiently and effectively.
Math Academy harnesses technology as a method of instruction where the focus is on the role of feedback in learning and establishes a level of performance that all students must master before moving on. It has been shown to be one of the most powerful educational techniques ever discovered, however, to realize its potential required personal one-on-one tutoring, which is excessively resource-intensive - known as “Bloom’s 2-Sigma Problem”. However, through the use of a custom web-based learning platform, this and the following techniques can be combined into an exceptionally potent personalized learning system.
The most effective means of constructing long-term memories is to re-engage with concepts at progressively greater intervals (the spacing effect). In contrast, doing a large number of a specific type of problem within a short-period, known as massed practice, has little to no long-term benefit but numerous negative side effects, most notably—boredom, burnout, and the inefficient use of time. Math Academy’s highly sophisticated algorithms tracks every single question a student completes and continually updates the student’s personal learning curve for optimal efficiency.
Presenting problems out of context is the most effective means of improving a learner's ability to match a problem with the appropriate concept or procedure. Together with distributed practice, the two perform an especially powerful mix, however, few textbooks have ever been written with any awareness of these techniques, therefore they are all but absent from the classroom - much to the chagrin of researchers in cognitive learning theory.
As the number of neural connections increase, the more ingrained a concept or skill becomes. Acquiring new skills and concepts that exercise prerequisite or component concepts, is an especially efficient method of increasing the number of connections to existing knowledge. But that's not all. It has the added, and even greater, benefit of increasing the organization and comprehension of existing knowledge. Math Academy’s knowledge graph makes connections between all prerequesites and encompassing topics so that earlier topics mastered are applied and reinforced in higher level topics.
Learning highly similar or related items simultaneously, or in close succession, causes encoding interference and impedes recall. The typical math curriculum is divided into units of related material and taught in subsequent lessons, which has the adverse effect of causing both proactive and retroactive interference. New concepts should be taught alongside or following dissimilar material so as to avoid this problem. When this method is utilized, multiple topics can be successfully taught simultaneously. Our students have the ability to choose any unlocked topic that becomes available to them as they progress through the system. As each task is completed, the student’s knowledge graph is updated and they system chooses new topics to guide them most efficiently through the course.