Devising an evaluation framework for the design and use of mobile learning applications in early years' education


The project aimed at devising evidence-based guidelines about the design of educational apps for children.


m-Evaluate aimed to provide robust evidence about the impact of selected mobile applications on the learning and development of 5-years old and produce a research based evaluation framework that will guide the design of apps and help parents and teachers make informed decisions when choosing apps for their children. It built on previously funded work by BERA (British Educational Research Association) investigating the impact of mobile applications on young children's science learning and understanding.

The role of IET

Leading the project implementation and coordination.


mEvaluate project examined the use of two different mobile apps for mathematics with more than 260 children 5 and 6 years old in the UK and produced a set of recommendations as to how to design and choose maths apps for young children. A series of mixed-methods Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) at four primary schools in the UK, showed that the apps under study are equally good to standard maths practice. They can be a good alternative to pen-and-paper activities for practicing counting, addition and subtraction of simple sums. The video analysis of children’s interaction with the apps revealed the challenges children faced when interacting with the apps and identified the app features or affordances that should be redesigned, or considered when choosing apps, to effectively support the learning experience.

This project provided a fine-grained understanding of how the learning design of specific apps is perceived by young children, which affordances are noticed and used by children, and which may inhibit their learning. The project resulted in a set of evidence-based recommendations as to how to design and select maths apps for young children, contributing to the lack of evidence around the impact of apps on young children’s learning and how to design good quality educational apps for this age group.

Research programmes


  • British Academy