Here’s what the profile looks like now:

The topics are (still) all mathematics-related, and there are currently 345 individual skills in which one can obtain mastery. So having 300 below the belt means that I’ve pretty much cleaned out most major sections (each of the 19 challenge patches above basically required complete mastery of all exercises in the given topic).

I find it interesting that the incentive system of Khan Academy apparently seem to be so effective on me, considering how hard it is for me on a general level to do what I’d consider ‘real work’. I’m still not sure how much of it is the badge/achievements system and how much is other stuff; but I do know that when I study ‘in real life’, I get zero feedback on my performance or skill level for months. Feedback is basically what you get after you’ve sat your exams – twice a year or so. Sometimes there’s a bit more than that, but not much. If it’s possible and realistic to do this somehow (I know that some people argue that it is; by involving other people as well, putting money on the line etc.), it seems like it would be optimal for me to set up similar incentive systems for other areas of my life.

On the other hand, part of what makes Khan Academy’s system work so well on me is probably exactly that doing nothing any given day has zero consequenses for me; the punishment element/aspect is completely absent, so I always feel a (/false) sense of achievement after I’ve done work there. But if I had a third hand, I’d probably add to that that I’ve not actually spent all that much time at the site (compared to how much time is required to put in to get through a normal semester at a university). So I’m likely overestimating the relevant effect sizes.

Either way, the people at Khan Academy have done a lot of things – succesfully, I’d add – to make learning new stuff fun. If you haven’t already, you should make a profile and start learning. I’m willing to bet you don’t know everything that’s covered on the site.


May 12, 2012 - Posted by | Khan Academy, Personal

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