There are a wide range of educational apps in the App Store. Some titles like Tapfish are fun, while others like the iLearnWith program from Tribal Nova are geared for learning. The thing that sets iLearnWith apart from its competition is the ability to set up profiles for multiple children and track their progress across more than one app. iLearnWith is more than just a few loosely-associated apps with profiles. It's an iPad-based learning environment with several different apps that interact and share data with each other.
The apps are geared towards the younger set (ages 3 to 6) and focus on basic skills like letters, phonics, and addition. There are also a few titles that explore science by introducing topics like animals and weather.
Each educational app has a different theme and tests a different set of skills. There's i Learn With Poko: Seasons and Weather! HD which covers weather; i Learn With Boing: Ice Land Adventures! HD which focuses on letters phonics and spelling; i Learn With Savanna Adventures! HD which mixes animals with math; i Learn With the Mighty Jungle: Animals! HD which showcases animals and i Learn With Poko: Fun Counting and Addition! HD which introduces math. When your child is done learning, they can open the Planet Boing app, which offers kids a break from drills and lets them dress-up and play with a variety of cartoon aliens.
When you launch one of the iLearnWith apps, you are greeted with an animated launch screen that matches the theme of the app. From here, you can start a lesson, select a child's profile, view your child's progress or browse other iLearnWith apps that are installed on your device. I was impressed with the sharing and tracking that exists between the apps when you use them with an iLearnWith account (available for free). I was able to launch one app, pull up my child's progress records from all the apps and then jump to another app to begin lessons. It was seamless to move from one app to another.
I've used four of the apps in the series, and each app is colorful and engaging. The characters are cute and there's enough animation to keep your child focused on the activity. Instructions are very clear and tell your child exactly what they need to do at each screen. If your child forgets, there's always a character like Mister Murphy the Monkey hanging around to help. There's also background music and sound effects in the apps, but they add to the experience and are not overbearing.
Children get positive reinforcement and earn rewards when they answer correctly. When a mistake is made, a sad noise gives mild correction and the child is prompted to try again. The reward system gives your child medals and trinkets that they can use in Planet Boing, an app within the series that's a more of a digital playground than a learning app.
For parents or teachers, iLearnWith has section dedicated to tracking your child's progress in not just one, but all the iLearnWith apps. When you open the progress hub, you can view the learning activities for each app and the level your child has completed. At the top is the current app and its statistics, which in the detailed view can include the number of times the child completed an activity, their success rate and the average success rate of the group. At the bottom of the progress section are the other apps and their completion level. Parents can tap an activity, like adding up to 10 in the Addition! app, and that app will launch.
The iLearnWith apps are available in the iOS App Store for US$2.99 each. Select titles in the series are on sale now for a limited time.