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Cognitive Function EFun

Students enjoy cognitive functions assessments with eFun

eFun is a newly developed app that assesses foundational learning skills (Berg et al., 2019). These foundational learning skills consist of a set of cognitive functions called executive functions. Executive functions build the foundation for learning and academic success (Zelazo et al., 2016). Therefore, it is crucial to identify and measure these cognitive functions early and integrate the outcomes into targeted learning plans.

Existing executive function assessments can be lengthy, expensive, and uninteresting for children. To address this problem, the newly developed eFun app was designed to be child-friendly with animated 3D characters that need to solve problems in a winter wonder world. Students play through a set of self-assessed iPad games that test their ability to memorize patterns, inhibit their response, and flexibly switch between rules.

eFun testing in the classroom

Enjoyment with assessments is often disregarded when cognitive measures are designed. However, it has been shown that enjoyment with a task can lead to greater task performance (Schukajlow & Krug, 2014). Thus, to measure students’ full potential on the task, it is important to ensure that they enjoy the activity.

Therefore, we asked students whether they enjoy playing the eFun EF games in our recent study. The results showed that the majority of students found the eFun games fun, enjoyable, and exciting. This opens up future possibilities for teachers to integrate the eFun assessment into their teaching practices. With the information gained from the assessment, students’ cognitive profiles can be understood better, and targeted learning plans can be developed.

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Read more and references

  • Berg, V., McMahon, M., Rogers, S., Garrett, M., & Manley, D. (2019). The eFun App: A new tool to measure executive functions to support learning in a child friendly, valid and engaging way [Conference presentation]. EdMedia+ Innovate Learning, Waynesville, United States.
  • Schukajlow, S., & Krug, A. (2014). Are interest and enjoyment important for students’ performance. In C. Nicol, S. Oesterle, P. Liljedahl, & D. Allan (Eds), Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of PME 38 and PMENA 36 (5), 129 -136.
  • Zelazo, P. D., Blair, C. B., & Willoughby, M. T. (2016). Executive Function: Implications for Education. Institute of Education Sciences, 1 -142. http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/pubs/20172000/
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