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Novakid’s proprietary story-based curriculum results in a 39% improvement in students’ learning performance

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Novakid online English school for children conducted research on its first-to-market story-based ESL curriculum – Novakid Magic Academy – to ascertain the impact of the gamified learning environment and storyline on young ESL students’ learning outcomes.

Teaching children in a digital learning environment presents a number of challenges. Promoting deeper engagement with the content, maintaining their attention and developing their online learning autonomy are of the utmost importance.

These factors have a direct impact on learning outcomes due to a well-known motivational mechanism: the level of interest in an activity directly correlates with the success rate – the more you enjoy doing something, the better you will perform at the task.

To provide young learners with the opportunity to learn a foreign language in a way that leads to efficiency and fluency, Novakid developed an innovative ESL curriculum – Novakid Magic Academy – based on different storyline features and gamification elements such as animated comic stories, story-linked individual English lessons, mini-games in English for children, a gamified learning environment as well as interactive homework activities.

Storyline and gamification approach lead to a 39% increase in learning outcomes

To evaluate the impact of this story-based ESL curriculum on students’ learning outcomes, Novakid conducted research based on the data on the gamification elements’ effectiveness, level of students’ engagement as well as the learning content performance.

The data was collected via progress monitoring of over 1,500 parameters and interactive mechanics implemented in the content of each English lesson. The data-driven approach to the research minimised the teacher’s evaluation, thus ensuring the accuracy of the results. The research was conducted between October 2021 to March 2022.

The research sample consisted of 30,390 Novakid students between the ages of 4 and 12 years old, enrolled on the Novakid Magic Academy story-based English course.

The results of the research clearly demonstrate that this curriculum increases the students’ performance in the key language competencies: reading, speaking and listening.

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Although the students present the most impressive results in the reading comprehension (a 46% higher performance), the speaking performance results are also high: the outcomes are 21% higher in the curriculum based on gamification and storyline. The listening competencies increased by 16%.

The average learning performance rate is 12% higher after a minimum of four months of lessons, resulting in a 39% better learning performance for students enrolled in the Level I Novakid Magic Academy ESL course.

A narrative environment positively affects the students’ motivation to complete homework and additional ESL activities: the students enrolled in story-based curriculum tend to spend 24% more time completing their homework tasks and dedicate 20% more time to games than the students who are not.

Other research findings

  • The daily share of students enrolled in Novakid Magic Academy with character purchase is 30% higher than the daily share of those enrolled in Classic curriculum courses: they tend to spend more time using different gamification features, their learning time is increasing, and in turn, their engagement rate is higher.
  • Animated comic stories (Novakid Tales) also have a positive impact on the students’ learning progress: the students of Novakid Magic Academy watch the comic videos nearly 15% more often than students enrolled on the Classic curriculum.
  • The performance data confirms that the outcomes are better for those students who enrol on the Novakid Magic Academy English course. Moreover, the students who regularly watch comic stories have a 30% higher retention rate.

Read more in the study “Benefits of the story-based curriculum and gamification to young ESL students’ learning outcomes”.


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