Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive digital library of lessons in English beginning through intermediate (K-5) skills, and Math from beginning levels (like counting) through grade 8 and adult learning (algebraic skills, geometry, and more). Each level of math and English includes 60 lessons that use an engaging video format for instruction followed by a game that requires use of the target skill. The full game includes well over 700 lessons.
Free placement test
60 lessons at each level
Comprehensive K-8 math curriculum as well as adult level
Comprehensive K-5 English curriculum
Engaging animated lessons
Learning Upgrade is a very high quality app with lots of features that will enhance student learning and review. The app works as advertised; it’s quick and responsive. The interface is intuitive, with just a few exceptions. The narration/verbal instructions are clear and well-spoken. It can be used by up to six individuals within a family. Developers may want to consider a more comprehensive how-to-use section for parents, particularly those of special needs students, and more detailed information about the benefits of using the app. There are lots of benefits that teachers will see, but parents may not.
This app provides valuable review and practice for students of all ages. It can nearly stand on its own with the comprehensive curriculum offered. The only major piece missing is adjustment to the student’s learning needs if the original instructional video and interactive game do not help a student truly learn the skill. The app moves on as soon as 75% mastery is reached, and that may not be enough practice/review for many students, especially those who have learning difficulties. As it stands, it makes a great supplemental tool for teachers and parents to provide focused skills practice for students as needed.
One concern is that some of the evaluation exercises have formats that might cause students to miss answers on skills they have mastered. For example, on the math pretest at the lower levels, one exercise encourages children to count backwards or forwards (to add or subtract) on a line of pictures. If the child touches intermediate pictures while counting (a very common strategy), the app will take that as their final answer and count it as incorrect. Developers may want to consider specific instructions on those items to only touch the final answer.
Learning Upgrade is an entertaining app that will keep students engaged most of the time. The instructional videos present information through animations and songs, and are short and sweet. The games have varied formats, and success is rewarded with a random phrase of praise. Successful completion of a lesson (watching the video and scoring at least 75% on the activity) is rewarded with a certificate. Better scores receive higher level certificates. This method of reward might be engaging for some students (especially older ones), but younger kids are likely to prefer something a bit more actively involving, such as dressing a character, earning game time, or similar.
Learning Upgrade is free to download. The free portion allows users to take pretests in both English and Math (or to start at a specific grade level if desired). The pretests alone are well worth the download, since users can assess their skills and get a general idea of how they measure up to others in their age group. Users are allotted 8 free lessons (of the 60 at any given subject/level), then the app activates an in-app purchase system to subscribe. A one-month subscription costs $7.99, 3 months is $19.99, and an annual subscription is $59.99. The free trial of 8 lessons (16 if you work in both English and Math) is very nice, because it gives both parents and students a chance to assess if they enjoy the app and are making progress. While some families may find the subscription prices to be steep, they seem fair for the vast amount of content that is provided. For users planning to use multiple levels, the app is well worth the subscription cost.
This app does not include outside advertisements or social media, but it does have unprotected in-app purchase screens for the monthly, 3 month, and annual subscription options. Since some of the material is targeted at young and elementary aged children, developers should consider putting this option behind an effective parent gate so there is less chance of children making unauthorized purchases.
Learning Upgrade will provide hours of productive content for students learning English (K-5 level) or math (K-adult level). The lessons are engaging, animated and musical. The practice games are fun and provide valuable review of the material. All in all, it’s a really great app!