Early Product Development / Long-term Research

With its enormous scale, Khan Academy has a unique opportunity to push forward learning technology. We can offer students around the world a taste of exciting new ideas and learn by observing huge populations in action.

These reports document key projects from Khan Academy's experimental research and development efforts in 2015–2018. Combining practices from product design, academic research, and pedagogy, we sought to explore and uncover future possibilities in education.

Building complex reasoning skills online through open-ended activities

How might we design open-ended activities for online platforms which help students develop complex reasoning skills while still delivering rapid feedback? We’ve created a prototype learning platform that offers students rapid feedback by choreographing an intricate dance between students, their respective ideas, expert-authored model work, and lightweight teacher facilitation.

Playful worlds of creative math: a design exploration

Plenty of grown-up artists, scientists, and engineers find math empowering and beautiful. We wondered: how might we help more kids experience what math lovers experience? We explored designs for a world where everything wears its math on its sleeve—where children can create and have adventures by playing with the numbers behind every object. You canʼt visit that world yet, but we hope our sketches and prototypes will inspire you to see a new angle on educational technology.

Numbers at play: dynamic toys make the invisible visible

When we think about manipulating numbers, some operations seem easy or obvious, and others exotic and abstract. Addition and multiplication by tens? Straightforward. Modular arithmetic and changes of base? Not exactly obvious. What if you had some new way to represent numbers in your head—and manipulate them in your hands—that made certain thoughts easier to think? We’ve designed new interactive representations of numbers to attempt just that.

Read more on our blogs

You can read dozens more smaller explorations on our blog, which is unfortunately hosted separately for newer posts and older posts.

The team

Khan Academy Long-term Research was founded in 2015 by May-Li Khoe and Andy Matuschak. We were fortunate to collaborate in 2016–2017 with Scott Farrar.

Nick Barr joined us in 2017 as the group became Early Product Development, now attempting to both explore future possibilities and also find viable paths for their productionization. We expanded in 2018 with Helena Jaramillo and Sarah Lim, then suspended our work in 2019 as organizational priorities shifted.