Khan Academy is a well-known service that focuses on learning and tracking your progress. It all started as a few tutoring lessons in Math distributed through YouTube, but it quickly rose to fame as the creator of the service expanded the areas of knowledge and promoted the service through various talks. The website is robust and filled with content at this point, and has been around the block for a while, but it didn’t have a companion app for Android for the longest time. Now it finally has one, and it serves as a nice complement to the website experience. So today, we’ll be taking a look at the app and what you can do with it.
One of the big objectives of Khan Academy, besides hosting a trove of content for learning various subjects with video explanations, is to engage with the user. That is not always easy. Learning can be fun, but it isn’t fun by default – and when you start losing track of what you’re learning, things quickly shift from fun to frustrating. In order to solve these issues, the service has bet on videos that break down every step of the process, regular exercises and tests, and more importantly, a sort of “gamification” system that rewards users for sticking with the program or solving problems with various badges and tracking their progress.
The Android app follows on this purpose a bit as well, but one of its strongest points is the wide range of videos available for immediate consumption. First of all, you should start by downloading the app from this Play Store link. Once you open the app, that will become clear, with a wide selection of subjects to explore being presented to you:
You can scroll up and down to explore the various areas of learning, and scroll to the side in a category to advance further in it:
And obviously, as soon as you pick a subject, you can see what it comprises of:
And narrow it down to the individual lessons:
As soon as you pick a video lesson you want to see, you will be taken to the main interface for the videos:
As you can see, you have the video on top going as usual, and at the bottom you have a transcription with a timestamp so that you can follow along more easily:
Of course, you can tap on the fullscreen icon or rotate your device to enter a more traditional landscape video mode:
One of the killer features of this app, however, is the fact that you can download videos for later consumption, even offline. By tapping the “+” icon at the top of a video, it will be added to “Your List”:
And then you can navigate to Your List from the main screen to manually download videos for later by tapping the icon on the right of a video:
The video will start to download and will be stored on your device so you can see it later, not requiring a network connection at all. This is a great feature to follow your learning along even when on a trip where you don’t have a stable connection, or to explore something new when you’re bored:
Of course, you can search for subjects and videos manually by entering something on the search section:
And as we said, the app tracks your progress if you let it – there is a whole Profile section to do that as soon as you sign in:
Once you do, explore along, and the app will show you your points and badges on the screen so you can keep track of your achievements and what you did. Overall, this is a super polished app that does serve as more than a companion app to the website. While the app doesn’t have the full feature set from the web service, such as dynamic exercises and quizzes, all of the teachable content is there – and available for easy offline consumption. That’s a pretty good offer – and let’s not forget that the whole thing is free and for the sole purpose of educating people. While I would like to see some more features in there, and the written portion of the app is pretty hit or miss, it’s still a great tool to have and you never lose anything by trying to educate yourself. Whether you just want to refresh on you high-school math for work or want to learn something else entirely new, this is a great place to get your bearings and find some motivation to continue.