Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2015

LearnBop

Adaptive tutorial site helps kids tackle tough math concepts

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: The step-by-step help for kids is incredibly valuable, and detailed data reports for teachers allow for even more individualized learning.

Cons: While working through the steps is really helpful, there's no clear fun factor that appeals to kid sensibilities.

Bottom Line: It's a great tool for filling in learning gaps and for individualizing learning; kids get practice that really helps them grasp concepts.

This could become an invaluable classroom tool for teachers in many ways. Its developers tout LearnBop as a way to identify and fill in learning gaps from previous years so that kids are ready to learn at their own grade level. In fact, you can use LearnBop to identify and improve problem areas for each individual student. Alignment to Common Core standards for each step of each “bop” helps you identify exactly where kids are having problems, and class and individual data collection helps you know where to focus their efforts for maximum effect. Identifying stronger learners and weaker learners can also help you group kids together for effective peer tutoring. Assign problems for individuals to do in class or at home, or use a smart board to demonstrate problems to the class or small groups. 

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LearnBop is a virtual tutorial system that takes kids through math problems step by step, giving hints where kids need help and identifying gaps in the basic knowledge behind more complicated concepts. Helpful hints include pictures, graphs, and/or video explanations (courtesy of partner site LearnZillion). All problems are directly related to a specific Common Core State Standard, so kids and teachers easily identify the concept behind the problem and the relevant grade level. You can create classes, assign “bops,” and see detailed performance reports that include data on which problems kids answered correctly or incorrectly, which concepts posed problems, which students were strong or weak in which specific areas, and so on. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if kids all had personal tutors who could help them work through difficult problems, fill in gaps in basic knowledge, and patiently provide hints and extra information to encourage comprehension? LearnBop may not be exactly that -- it's just a computer program, after all, and is thus limited by what it's been programmed to do -- but it does get pretty darn close. When kids answer a problem incorrectly (or choose the Ask for Help option), LearnBop starts in with a clear, purposeful breakdown of the different pieces of knowledge kids need to solve the problem. Each step of the way, kids can ask for more help, or answer the substeps and move on to eventually answering the target problem correctly. Teachers get an amazingly detailed view of what their students are doing, which can help them pinpoint problem areas. Ultimately, these details make LearnBop stand out among tutorial sites, and may really make a difference for kids who need to see every step for true understanding of concepts.

LearnBop does have a schoolwork vibe, so some kids may not feel totally engaged. But a friendly interface featuring two cute panda guides and, most of all, the empowering feeling of actually understanding math will be motivation enough for most. It would be great if content were expanded to tackle even more complex math concepts, making this a place where high school students could get step-by-step assistance on trickier advanced math topics.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Though it's not a game with bells and whistles that may appeal to kids, the clean, clear design and welcoming interface make it as engaging as a tutorial site can be. Kids will like the cute panda mascots that appear during their lessons.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Learning content is solid: Step-by-step tutorials have high potential for helping kids understand math. The program is very responsive to kids' input, though it does require an adult to interpret performance and assign problems accordingly.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Videos and guides demonstrate how to use the site, and there's lots of help and support for solving math problems. A superior system of data reporting pinpoints where kids' comprehension problems lie.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Susan R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lebanon High School
Lebanon, United States
An excellent resource for learners to amp up, learn, or practice math skills.
An excellent resource for learners to amp up, learn, or practice math skills. With a learning management system built in, teacher/coach can follow student progress and the system allows for self-directed and self-paced, individualized learning. Learnbop is an “automated tutoring system” for students in primarily grades 5-9. However, teachers, parents, students may find learnbop’s tutorial system great for any student struggling with, or interested in learning at a higher level than their grade level, or to reinforce unlearned or forgotten lower level skills. Learnbop’s tutorial system, personalizes learning by assessing current skills and providing instructive tutorials and exercises to fill in critical math skills. Teacher/coach has the ability to set up classes and follow student progress, and assign interventions through a contained LMS. Learnbop’s curriculum aligns with Common Core State Standards, and provides support documents. It is browser and tablet based. Feedback via panda bear character(s) seems somewhat inappropriate for skill level in some cases. Not sure a lot of 7, 8 and 9th graders would buy-in as a result. Perhaps to gamify with badges or other types of rewards might make this more appropriate. It is very easy for teacher/coach to set up an individual or class assignment. The built in calendar and drop-down list for assignments, as well as the assignment preview, all help teacher/coach determine the appropriateness of assignments created. The whole process takes less than a minute. While working through some of learnbop’s tutorial lessons and exercises, called bop’s, I found the scaffolding and instruction engaging and appropriate, explaining difficult math concepts in a easy to understand, demonstrated lessons, with student practice/participation immediately following the lesson. Student’s also have the opportunity to get immediate help if stuck on a bop, with a slowed down, step-by-step tutorial on the specific problem they are trying to answer. There is really no excuse for not completing assignments. The programming continues to break down the lesson into smaller, and smaller chunks with each request for help and/or incorrect answers. Learnbop’s built in progress meter allows students to fully monitor progress on understanding the lesson’s concepts, but does not seem to provide lesson completion information (such as percent completed successfully, or remainder to complete). Learnbop also provides email updates to students regarding progress. While there is a trial use offer, it is ultimately a paid fee service. Groups of teachers can be added, or schools can purchase the software and support. Depending on the type of service desired (per student, individual teacher, district or school, etc) will determine subscription price.
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