Website review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2021

Brainly

Crowdsourced homework-help can be a Pandora's box

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 11 reviews
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Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
6–12
Subjects & Skills
Math, Science, Communication & Collaboration, College & Career Prep
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Pros: Great search tool and active community. Rewards might motivate some to help out.

Cons: Some answers are confusing or incorrect. Verified answers are hard to find. Needs more oversight.

Bottom Line: Peer learning can be a great thing, but use of this site will likely tend more toward quick fixes than mentorship.

Teachers could consider suggesting this site as an option for students to get homework help. It's definitely something you'll want to tread lightly with, however. Teachers will want to first peruse the site themselves to see if it's a valuable enough service for their students' needs and their curricular approach. Keep in mind, though, that even when the site works correctly, it merely helps students get a quick answer to their homework questions, rather than helping them learn the concept. Teachers will want to work with students to explain the drawbacks to using it in this quick-fix way rather than using the answer to then reflect on the solution. Advanced students might enjoy helping others on Brainly and earning rewards and status along the way.

When possible, monitor your students' use of Brainly to prevent cheating on tests and plagiarism, and make sure students are using the private chat feature safely. Make use of the free teacher accounts, and encourage parents to create parent accounts that can connect to their children's accounts so that they can track progress and learn where strengths and challenges lie.

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Brainly is a crowdsourced questions and answers site for homework, with content covering 20 subjects. Students post their questions within a school subject or grade level, and other students and various subject experts answer them, with a limited number of answers allowed per question. The site encourages students to post answers by awarding them points based on the number of points offered by the question poster. Students can award a star rating to helpful answers, and students can give users thanks for answering their question. Students can also earn bonus points by completing their profile, logging in each day, getting on the leaderboard, and giving or choosing the Brainliest answer to questions.

To earn even more points, students can complete challenges where they answer a large number of questions in specific subjects within a time limit. Moderators are supposed to keep up with all the site's content, but the point system encourages students to give as many answers as they can, sometimes clogging up the system with less-than-helpful content. The site has tips on how to provide a useful answer, but those tips aren't necessarily heeded.

The site has a Brainly Basic free option, plus a Brainly Plus paid upgrade where users can ask priority questions and receive verified answers, but there's no option to filter out the unverified answers for browsing or searching. Brainly Plus users can optionally upgrade to Brainly Tutor, a paid option where students can get immediate live tutoring in math, but the upgrade button wasn't functional during this review. 

In an ideal world, Brainly would be a supportive group learning environment where students could teach each other what they know. Unfortunately, Brainly appears more to be a place to get quick answers so that students can finish homework faster. The answers, even if they're correct, often offer little to no elaboration or depth on the topic, and there's no guarantee that given answers will be correct. There are moderators who work to keep the site safe and helpful, but they don't address every incorrect answer in a timely manner, and what's shown on the site, especially at the top of the feed, is often not useful. The point system can encourage students to give valuable answers, but points (and the "Brainliest" title) are awarded by the question asker, not an expert.

A green checkmark indicates an answer verified by Brainly's team of subject experts, but there doesn't seem to be a way to limit search results to only verified answers or high star ratings. Additionally, many posted questions, even legitimate ones, go unanswered. The site claims to follow an honor code by not allowing cheating or plagiarism, but questions and answers often sneak past the moderators and community managers, with some students using the site to gain answers to exam questions. All of this means that the site works about as well as one would expect: some genuine, helpful answers mixed in with a lot of incomplete and unhelpful ones.

Overall Rating

Engagement

The site has an intuitive interface but can feel busy. The points system might incentivize some students, but strange questions and meaningless answers might also be discouraging.

Pedagogy

Learning from and with your peers can be an ideal way to learn, but this site is focused on quick homework answers rather than on digging deep into solutions.

Support

The site provides some guidance on how to ask and answer questions, and moderators do oversee reported content. It could be tough for students to determine which answers are helpful or correct, even with a paid account.


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Featured review by
Cory P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cheat Central
This is a horrible website that is used almost exclusively for cheating. Even though their so-called 'code of honor' prohibits students from answering or copying tests questions, test cheats make up a substantial chunk of Brainly. As in, it's what students pretty much ONLY use it for. They go there to cheat, and only to cheat, end of story.
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