Developed as part of the Playful Words research project at the MIT Media Lab's Laboratory for Social Machines, Learning Loops aims to make literacy learning—both on and off the screen—a family experience. We create small-scale coach-family networks centered around children’s play on custom-built, open-ended literacy learning apps. Building Coach-family networks helps to empower children as authors and facilitate their narrative development.
StoryBlocks, a Learning Loops app, aims to promote literacy and social-emotional development through storytelling for children ages 6-10. StoryBlocks allows children to create and customize their own comic-style stories. These stories are analyzed using tools developed by the Learning Loops team to document children’s narrative development, and support Coaches as they provide personalized scaffolding for children’s narratives.
How does the Learning Loop work?
Data captured from a child’s use of StoryBlocks is streamed via the internet to cloud servers, and can immediately be accessed from a remote location by the child’s Coach. We have developed a Coach’s dashboard, called the Coach Console, powered by play analytics which enables a Coach to rapidly inspect play traces collected from a child’s activity and pull out their salient achievements, or meaningful moments. The Coaches then translate these moments into short personalized messages for the caregiver to inform them on their child’s narrative progress and provide suggestions for how to encourage new activities using StoryBlocks, together with background knowledge about their child’s path to literacy. Caregivers communicate with Coaches via text messages. Coaches can also help the children expand their sphere of learning and exploration by providing feedback on children's stories and suggesting new story starters directly to the child’s device that are based on trends in the child’s play data.