The Check Feature and the Power of Positive Psychology

By Jon 0 Comments August 4, 2011

For those who’ve played our games, you’ll see that before a student submits his answer, he can check to see if it is correct or not. What, exactly, is the point of providing this feature? At its simplest, the check feature allows the student to check if her answer is correct before submitting her final answer. Since this check feature only provides a minimal hint (too high or low) and not the actual answer, the student still must learn to solve the problem on her own.

Fundamentally, the check feature provides something more – immediate feedback that allows the user to learn in an active process. How does this relate to the principle of Positive Psychology? Before that, we need to ask what is Positive Psychology? Simply put, it’s the science of what makes people happy. Applied to education, Positive Psychology is used to reward students for every accomplishment, regardless of scope and breadth, and penalties are no longer given out for what they are not achieving. The result is that students become less afraid of making mistakes.

The Check feature correlates with Positive Psychology by providing a ‘safe’ method of discovery, where the student is free to make mistakes without consequence. By ‘safe’, we mean that even if the user places in an incorrect answer and uses the Check feature, the game will not count the answer placed as an incorrectly submitted answer – meaning the student is still free to earn the ‘Perfect’ bonus for that level!

Even with the Check feature, there is always room for the student to grow. At the end of each level, the student earns more points for every Check not used. Keep in mind, this does not affect their recorded performance (as seen on the Dashboard), as that is based on the number of correctly submitted answers. The ability to earn more points by using less Checks provides the student an opportunity to perfect their skills within that level. The more points they earn, the higher they are on the leaderboard!

Image by Matt Carman