Creating Effective (and Successful) Educational Apps!

I often get my inspiration for blog posts by reading the blog posts of others…and today isEducational-Apps-for-Students no exception. Yesterday, on the Edudemic blog, Jeff Dunn wrote a post called A Roadmap for Successful Educational App Development. His list is pretty general, and frankly, it’s a list that is, in my opinion, just focused on good practices for developing any app. There’s nothing on the list that is targeted at educational apps in particular. Which is fine, as a general list was his intention, but also frustrating, for me, because there’s a whole lot more to making a successful educational app than what’s on that list.

So my goal in this post is to give some very specific things that developers need to do in order to really target the educational part of educational apps.  I’ve talked about this in other posts, I know, but my goal today is to round out the list that Jeff Dunn started…

Here is an abbreviated version of Jeff’s list.  I encourage you to visit his post to see it in more detail:

1. Find a good problem that you and others have and figure out a solution.

2. Once the app is released, gather all the feedback you can to do an update.

3. Artwork and visual appeal is key.

4. Promote the app through a variety of channels.

5. Learn about the importance of user experience and apply it to your app.

6. Get connected with other developers in your area of expertise.

So, I think you probably see what I mean about none of these being particular to education.  So I would like to add the following three items to Jeff’s list.  (I have more, of course, but let’s get these three under our belts and we’ll go from there!) Developers, need help with this?  Let me know!

Creating Effective (and Successful) Educational Apps

About karen mahon

i am a behavior and learning scientist. i hold an ed.d. in educational psychology and am trained as an instructional designer. i have spent more than 15 years working in education and instructional software design.
This entry was posted in App Reviews & Recs, Balefire Labs, Instructional Design, Technology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Creating Effective (and Successful) Educational Apps!

  1. Hi Karen. I work at an online school,and the way you have structured this post, it helps me think about our learning design for online courses. In your opinion, do you see similarities as well – thinking about learning design for online course/community delivery ?

    • karen mahon says:

      Very much so! When designing instruction it’s important to start with where you want the learner to end up, and what data you need to confirm that they’re doing what you want them to be able to do. As Robert Mager said, “How will you know you’ve arrived if you don’t know where you’re going?” This is critical for instruction, regardless of medium. But it’s especially important when you are developing instruction that has relatively high development costs, like you are. If you start from the end and work your way backward you are much more likely to “get it right” with fewer revisions. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Thanks for your reply – I am going to bring this strategy to our instructional design team. It really puts process in perspective for me. Now the ideas are coming. Have a great day!

  3. Rajat says:

    I’m a first time app developer, and your post was a good read. As a person on the periphery of the educational system, I have a question for both you and Jeff – how does one really find a good, reliable and accessible user base that can test my app and provide feedback? Are there specific people who provide such support, or does each app developer go about finding a fresh user base for himself/herself?

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