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

Brilliant

Challenge top students with self-guided math, science, and CS courses

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 6 reviews
Privacy rating
44%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
6–12
Subjects & Skills
Math, Science, Critical Thinking, College & Career Prep

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Pros: Self-guided learning perfect for driven students; thorough problem explanations; free teacher access.

Cons: Hard to see how much progress you've made in each course. Text-heavy for struggling readers or ELLs.

Bottom Line: This learning and practice site can be an exciting challenge for passionate, independent students but may be too much for struggling kids.

Brilliant is best for students who are self-starters and catch on to new concepts easily. You may want to assign Brilliant's problems primarily for at-home practice, or challenge high-achieving kids to complete problems for extra credit. You can also encourage students to explore topics that you don't have time to cover in class. Because of its lower number of practice problems, though, students who need a lot of repetition may need additional outside material. Encourage your students to check out the helpful built-in wiki, which offers descriptions of ideas such as the Law of Cosines, Bubble Sort, and Uniform Circular Motion, each accompanied by a few examples.

Use the free Education plan for access to interactive lessons, solved problems, and some classroom tools, including the ability to create classes and assign content. Teachers can have up to eight classes at a time with 50 students in each, and students can be in multiple classes. For each class, teachers can choose up to six courses at a time (they can change them around as much as they'd like) and access the Daily Challenges archive.

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Brilliant is an online collection of interactive courses covering math, science, and computer science topics, aimed at late-elementary students up to adult. When you first log in, the site asks you about yourself and your goals, then directs you to recommended courses and paths accordingly, but paying users can access any of the material at any time. A free account gives users access to the beginning lessons of each course, new Daily Problems, and access to the wiki. A paid account adds the Daily Challenge archive, full access to the guided courses, and additional practice material. The main interface is divided into three sections: Today, Courses, and Practice. 

The Today panel includes a set of Daily Problems covering Math & Logic and/or Science & Engineering. Students with subscription access can also access the Daily Problems archives. Under the Courses panel, students choose from among 60+ foundational and advanced courses like Algebra Fundamentals, Pre-Calculus, Program with Python, Introduction to Neural Networks, and more. Each course provides a description, a list of topics covered, suggested prerequisites, and what to move on to next. Right from the start, students are presented with material to read and questions to test their comprehension. Whether or not they answer the problems correctly, they can display an explanation of how the problem is solved. Many courses are grouped into Learning Paths that each include several courses within a larger topic, such as Computer Science Algorithms (featuring Algorithm Fundamentals, Data Structures, and Introduction to Neural Networks) or Infinity & Number Theory (featuring Infinity, Number Theory, and Number Bases). The Practice panel includes extra practice problems for the courses, as well as access to the wiki, which goes into more depth on the concepts. Practice sections link to related courses, additional practice problems, and relevant wiki pages.

 

Aside from the visually pleasing interface, courses in Brilliant go from the very basics of a subject to advanced courses for college students or professionals, which offers flexibility. The text guides students through the material, and the site is elegantly laid out and easy to navigate. Students solve problems in their areas of study and then get immediate feedback, along with thorough explanations of each answer. A few bonus practice questions and the wiki give students more material to sink their teeth into if desired, but there aren't as many practice problems as a textbook would have. Students will appreciate the self-directed nature of the site, allowing them to work in areas they find interesting. Also, the problem-solving nature of Brilliant's content may keep students more engaged than more passive content. Maintaining streaks when they complete lessons multiple days in a row might motivate some students.

In terms of downsides, the site could be improved by placing a link to the wiki on the main menu, to make it easier to find. Also, there used to be a thriving community where students could submit new practice problems and solutions, explain their solutions to Daily Challenges, give feedback on explanations, and more. The apparent removal of this easy-to-engage-with community means the social element is lost, which was another facet to potential learning.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Brilliant is user-friendly, with a clean, intuitive design and quality content. The educational tasks themselves are challenging but approachable, but not much more fun than your average story problem.

Pedagogy

An extensive list of self-directed courses and lessons, along with plenty of built-in explanation and a few practice problems, let students work through paths and courses at their own pace.

Support

Each problem includes a full explanation, and the built-in wiki adds additional context. The Educator account includes free class access and some additional administrative tools.


Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

(See all 6 reviews) (6 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Matt O. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lusher Charter School
New Orleans, United States
It's a great place for students to stretch their intellectual muscles.
Brilliant is a great way to allow advanced students to go beyond the curriculum and try new things. It won't necessarily engage an uninterested student, but it does provide challenge to those who need it. And since it gives diagnostic pre-tests, it is good for multiple levels.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Unclear whether data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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