Miami, Fl. ,June 23, 2020 - A new study by playlearning™ app Lingokids shows that parents are leaning on educational apps to supplement both private and public school online distance learning in the United States. The study shows 56% of children ages two to eleven spend two to three hours per day doing schoolwork and 43% of children spend an additional one to two hours per day on educational apps.
More than 80% of respondents acknowledge that their opinion of what good traditional education is changed through their experience during the pandemic. According to the study, parents feel that educational apps supplement their child’s education and teach them new skills. Most parents place more value on how online learning can merge with in-place education to help students than they did before the pandemic. In fact, 32% of parents say that their opinions regarding what educational apps can provide changed during the home-schooling experience.
Ellen Wartella, Professor and Director of the Center on Media and Human Development of Northwestern University and member of the Lingokids Education Board, says “kids are using apps more during this lockdown and if parents see that their children are both engaged and learning from these apps, they will value them. Parents will have more time for their own work and don’t need to feel guilty about not being with their children.”
A staggering 50% of parents recognize that their children are able to learn independently while using a learning app, allowing working parents to focus on their work. Regardless, 43% of parents still worry about the amount of time their children spend using electronic devices, confirming that one of their main fears is screen time.
“All screens are not always bad for all children under all circumstances,” added Wartella. “What matters is knowing your child, the content they are engaging with, and the context of the media use.”
While 52% of interviewed households increased their screen time by one to two hours a day since stay at home orders took effect, 23% of parents concerned about this increase are mainly worried that their children might lose the ability to seek out learning experiences in the real world. To this end, 47% of parents feel soft skills are as important as hard skills and 37% feel that soft skills are even more important than traditional subjects like English or Math, as they empower children to succeed in today’s world.
Covid-19 has prompted parents, educators and students to focus on other skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, communication, collaboration and agility. So it's no surprise that parents are also seeking apps that teach more than just literacy games. These include opportunities for kids to explore and make educational discoveries centered around logical thinking, problem-solving and “read with me” books. The study also shows that parents are seeking less organized lessons for their children and more playlearning™ while increasing their focus on more practical skills, like home economics, cooking or time management.
To complement distance learning, 46% of parents prefer single learning apps with a variety of content over a multitude of learning apps that focus on specific subjects.
The current climate has placed more value on ed-tech and technology merged with traditional methods, meaning that not only has screen time and the use of educational apps increased during quarantine, but the experience has triggered a change in the way consumers think about education.
Experts agree that educational apps will be part of the “new normal” Suzanne Barchers, Education Advisory Board Chair for Lingokids, and Former Editor in Chief and VP of Leapfrog Enterprises also says, “My opinion as to their utilization has changed. I think people have become more aware of the flexibility of such instruction.”
Teachers are accepting and embracing this new situation. 90% of all early childhood educators interviewed agreed that schools didn’t provide them the necessary resources and information regarding distance learning, and have found the value of implementing educational apps in the classroom setting now more than ever.
“I have always found ed-apps important and vital in the classroom setting, but now more than ever,” says one educator. “Presential and online education will continue merging, and this will be the new educational model of the future,” says another. One English educator concludes, “there has been a change and change is here to stay.”
Lingokids’ global user insights confirm the trend since its conversion rate (trials to subscriptions) has increased by 33.6% since confinement, with the app present in more than 190 countries. There has also been a 31% increase in retention (percentage of users who keep engaged in the app after a month) and a 43% increment in average session length. Weekly sessions (the number of times a child uses the app in a week) has also grown 20% since mid-March, compared to the previous year.