Everybody uses mobile apps. While we continue to speculate on whether the mobile app market has reached maturity, 9 out of every 10 people, on average, download new apps on a regular basis. More interestingly, nearly half of all newly downloaded apps are educational in nature (in some form or the other). Clearly, the edtech market is on the rise – and the mobile platform is right at the heart of it.
Over the years, Teksmobile has built up a proud record for itself, as a creator of high-quality children’s apps. Launched in 2013, Story Time For Kids – a digital storytelling app – notched up well over a million downloads. We also worked on several other kids’ apps, like My First Words, I Can Write, and more recently, Soccerman – among others. Till now, however, we had not worked on any app that directly helped kids in their school studies. With Li’l Champs, our team has plugged that gap.
“Present-day kids are overburdened. It’s a sore sight to see children trudging along with bags heavier than themselves. We wanted to come up with a solution that brought back the fun element to learning…something that made kids look forward to school.”
Gamification of education was the core idea on which the Li’l Champs app was built. We believed that – given how much children love to play mobile games – the app would automatically appeal to the young learners, and would offer an intuitive experience to them. The challenge, of course, was to come up with games that were interesting enough.
Active learning modules are what Li’l Champs sets out to achieve. Instead of the often ineffective one-way chalk-and-talk classes, the app can be used to get the children more involved in the learning process. It’s an ideal learning companion app.
Li’l Champs has been designed for the iOS (iOS 9.0 and later) and Android (Android 4.1 and later).
We did a lot of background research to understand how kids prefer to learn, and how a mobile solution could really help them in grasping new topics and subjects. The focus was on making the learning process more enjoyable than ever. Finally, we zeroed in on the idea of making a learning app for kids that had a large number of exciting educational games.
Li’l Champs currently has more than 60 educational games – each with around 10 questions. We have gone in with questions in MCQ format for most of the games. Both singleplayer and multiplayer games have been included.
A recent study revealed that mobile-based learning structures help kids complete their lessons up to 45% faster (compared to only computer-based learning). Li’l Champs would also be instrumental in making learning faster and more effective.
The entire rationale behind the creation of the Li’l Champs app can be summed up as:
FUN + LEARNING = EFFECTIVE LEARNING!
For everyone at Teksmobile, every new app is like a new dream. Once the project is complete, we let that dream fly off – only to move on to the next one. Even so, it will be safe to say that we probably had the most fun while finalising the games for the new mobile educational app for kids. Everyone pitched in with ideas, we created a shortlisted, and from these – the final set of games were selected.
It is very important to think like a kid…to understand what a child would like…while coming up with ideas for mobile games. If a game fails to engage a young learner, it’s useless as an educational tool. The key lies in maintaining the right balance between educational benefits and sheer gaming fun.
Once the games were finalised and we had more or less decided on the gameplay, development started in right earnest. The iOS and Android versions were worked on simultaneously – and the coding was completed in 5 weeks flat.
“I have personally seen many kids’ apps…including educational ones…that get repetitive after a point. That’s precisely why our team created a huge database of questions for the app. Every time a child launches a Li’l Champs game, new questions wait for him or her.”
For the initial version we created a database of more than 6100 questions. Over 30 subjects – under English, Mathematics and General Knowledge – have been covered in these questions. We have plans to include more questions and cover more subjects over the next updates. The Li’l Champs application is meant for students from kindergarten to Class IV.
Keeping the target group of users in mind, fun and immersive graphics were implemented in the educational games, along with cute little animations. Our UI design team went into overdrive, coming up with a series of cool and funny characters – which would feature in the games. From racing piglets and horses, to climbing plants, buzzing bees, and running elephants – there’s everything in Li’l Champs – and then some more.
Over $5 trillion is spent across the globe on students’ learning activities (including all levels). By the end of this decade, the value of the worldwide education technology market will be comfortably more than $250 billion. The market is competitive, and the onus was on us to make our mobile educational tool unique. Augmented Reality (AR) came to our aid in this regard.
“After lengthy discussions with Maria and the development team, we decided to incorporate a set of fun AR-based games in the app. These games were mainly focused on simple things like alphabet and object identifications. Children would also be benefited by getting a first-hand feel of this immersive technology.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another cutting-edge technology that has a strong presence in the Li’l Champs app. In the single player games, a child plays against the system – which is powered by AI bots.
Li’l Champs establishes an ideal learning environment for young kids. The feeling of healthy competition that grows when the entire class plays learning games together is beneficial in a big way. As all the little ones try to clear levels and win games, they start to learn more and know more automatically.
Note: Li’l Champs has been made with the Unity game engine.
While adding the games and features in Li’l Champs, we never lost sight of the fact that the final users would be kids in the 4-9 age group. As such, the gameplay had to be simply yet enticing, and the app needed to have kid-friendly controls. There was no point in making an app for kids which was overly complicated.
Kids can select their class, choose a subject and pick a game to play. He or she can join a room, or play against the system. Questions would appear, with multiple answer options. The child has to pick the right question to move his character/avatar forward in the game.
Li’l Champs is a mobile learning game for kids that gives equal importance to 3 key elements of children’s education – KNOWLEDGE, SPEED and ACCURACY. On the basis of these factors, the performance of the kids is calculated. As more and more games are played, levels get cleared, and the players get on their journey from being a ‘Newbie’ to becoming a ‘Li’l Champ’.
Smart Teaching Tool
Li’l Champs is a school app that doubles up as a mighty useful teaching tool as well. There is a dedicated admin panel, from where teachers can set assignments, track student performances, set deadlines, and do a lot more. There are unlimited practice tests to be assigned – ensuring that the little ones have more than enough learning resources, at all times.
“As a psychoanalyst and academician myself, I am confident that teachers would find Li’l Champs to be a real handy tool. We have included plenty of customisation options, and teachers can even add their own questions to any game. The ability to monitor the kids’ performance on the games is yet another advantage.”
By regularly tracking the students’ performance on the different games in Li’l Champs, teachers can easily find out what each individual student is good at, and what topic(s) (s)he is struggling with. Personalised help and guidance can be provided accordingly. Once again, this makes classroom teaching all the more effective.
For parents too, Li’l Champs can be a smart monitoring tool. They can follow the performance of the students on the different games – and watch along as the knowledge pool of their wards grow. In a nutshell, Li’l Champs holds out benefits for students, teachers and parents. A true 360° digital learning platform.
Li’l Champs offers an easy subscription plan for both schools and individual users. Displaying disruptive in-app ads was never an option – particularly in an app made for kids. Instead, we have gone in with a very competitively priced subscription.
Our new m-learning app comes with a free trial period of 14 days. Following that, users have to subscribe, to continue getting access to all the learning resources and backend admin panel. The annual subscription fee of Li’l Champs (app+backend) is $1.99.
The Final Word
The iOS version of the Li’l Champs application is available for download at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/lilchamps/id1434375701. The Android version can be downloaded from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lilchamps&hl=en. Li’l Champs is a breakthrough school app that we have made with a lot of love – and we are sure it will do its bit to help students become faster, smarter learners.
Note: We do not believe that any digital tool can obliterate the need for expert human teachers. Li’l Champs has been designed as a learning tool that complements classroom education.