Confidence, momentum and audacity: these are three things that college students need to be successful learners. While math is often referred to as the universal language, it can present a barrier to students on their education and life journey. In fact, a recent survey found that 76 percent of students find math difficult. We’re here to help you create learning experiences that build confidence and elevate learning.
Focusing on the student
Three years ago, the Cengage Mathematics and Sciences team set out to find a way to make these subjects easier to learn. We believe that confidence comes from one success building onto the next, with each accomplishment contributing to the momentum students need to achieve their goals.
Through this experience, we learned a great deal about how students live and learn. This enabled us to create a product called MindTap for Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics, which places students at the center of the learning experience. Recently, Engaging Minds sat down with members of the team to learn more about this new course experience and the development process behind it.
MindTap is Facebook in the year 2006, the idea has been done before but it has never been done like this. –Spencer Arritt, Content Developer
We know what you’re thinking, this is just another online homework program right? Not exactly.
For math, you need the ability to judge mathematical equivalency. For example, if a student types in 1/2 or .5, that’s the same thing. Building that back-end engine was very important. –Kathryn Schrumpf, Associate Product Manager
Designing the Learning Path
While MindTap is able to handle the complexity of mathematical problem-solving, the team knew there is more to learning than just grading homework. Designing the right teaching and learning experience was also important.
MindTap brings together everything in one place in the Learning Path, including the full eBook and gradebook, and focuses on a whole range of learning. It’s efficient, integrated, and flexible. –Rita Lombard, Product Manager
The side-by-side help functionality for practice and homework assignments was built with input from students to deliver everything the student needs right where they need it. From videos, practice problems, and formulas for reference, the study tools are purposely embedded within the question, free of pop-up windows, to help reduce student distraction and enable learning.
No longer are students clicking on a help button and getting distracted by a pop-up window that would have inadvertently given them the permission to quickly check email or search the Internet. –Danae April, Marketing Director
Powered by you
The product itself is only part of the story. For MindTap, it is also about collaboration. There were over 150 people from all functions of Cengage involved in development but that collaboration also extended beyond the organization. Thousands of college students and educators were also brought into the process to ensure MindTap is what today’s students want.
We spent over two years researching with instructors and students and testing out individual and multiple workflows to identify core solutions and increase usability and engagement of those solutions. When we got to the software development stage we knew exactly what users wanted and how to develop it. –Jonathan McDonald, Ph.D. Senior Product Manager
Along the way MindTap may signal a change in how educational technology is developed.
It starts with the user. Getting the user involved early in the process and having the teams that are actually developing the software build empathy with that user was important. That first-hand feedback promoted really good cross-team collaboration. When you put the student and instructor perspective into the development process, you build really great products. –Chris Gaudreau, Project Manager
MindTap is designed to be a flexible solution that will evolve over time in collaboration with the customers using it. Before closing, we asked team members why students would want to use MindTap, here’s what one person had to say.
MindTap is designed with students as opposed to ‘for’ students. –Dwight Raleigh, Senior Digital Solutions Coordinator
MindTap for Math, Statistics, and Physics is built with students and educators, for students and educators, and is now available.