The use of technology has increased for all of us over the past few years during the pandemic, especially for families with children. Education technology, otherwise known as ‘edtech’, has never been more popular or needed as parents and teachers supplement blended learning with educational apps to help keep kids on their toes. the right way or even to move forward. I recently spoke to Cristobal Viedma, Founder and CEO of Lingokids, a leading educational app for early learning that has seen record growth during the pandemic and has now become a daily tool for millions of parents across the world. In this interview, Cris and I dive into what makes an engaging tech product for kids, how learning has changed post-pandemic, and what’s next in the world of edtech.
Gary Drenik: Can you tell me what sets Lingokids apart from all other early learning apps on the market?
Cristobal Viedma: I created Lingokids in 2016 out of personal need – I couldn’t find a safe, high quality, and fun educational app for my niece, so I used my background as a tech entrepreneur to create my own. Fast forward to today, Lingokids is an app trusted by 40 million families in 190 countries. We help children expand their vocabulary, improve their literacy skills, learn key STEM elements, and develop important social and emotional skills in a fun, safe, and ad-free environment.
Our fun and modern personalized curriculum is one of our key differentiators, which is the result of years of carefully crafting it within our educational council of early childhood educators and educational technology experts. for children from companies such as Hasbro, Disney and Nickelodeon. Unlike traditional physical learning systems, our curriculum is always up-to-date, features empathetic and infectious Lingokids proprietary characters, and follows the latest trends in educational, social, and technological innovation. For example, you can expect topics like sustainability and composting, which you won’t find in other early learning apps.
And finally, many families love Lingokids for our novel PlaylearningMT approach. Studies have shown that a child’s motivation increases when having fun and that children develop better concentration when engaging in entertaining activities. Basically, children learn by playing. With that in mind, we create incredibly fun and playful content experiences that fuel the imagination and give kids a sense of adventure, while helping them learn along the way.
Drenik: You have millions of families that are part of the Lingokids community. When you talk to parents, what are they specifically looking for in the products they buy these days?
Vidma: I’m a father myself now, and while I might be a little biased, I think parenting hasn’t gotten any easier in recent years. With a very crowded market for apps, it can be difficult to determine what content is not only safe for your child, but also what will actually help them learn and keep them engaged. Our mission at Lingokids is to help parents raise amazing kids through technology, break down barriers to learning, and create equal learning opportunities for children everywhere.
When we talk to our community of Lingokids parents, safety is a top concern for them. They want to make sure their kids see age-appropriate content and don’t accidentally see something they shouldn’t. That’s why we designed Lingokids as a completely safe experience for children. The entire app is ad-free, ensuring complete peace of mind for parents. But we know kids watch other content outside of Lingokids, so we also try to educate our community of parents with the latest in online safety when their kids are using content outside of Lingokids.
Parents are also more determined these days to spend time together as a family. According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, in the last 6 months, 24% of parents said they are spending more time than ever with their family, which I think is awesome. When we hear data like this, we turn it into action. We encourage much of the content on Lingokids to be done together as a family – like our fun carols, songs, and games that we’ve made it easy for everyone to participate. We are also producing several podcasts which we will release later this year. year that families can listen together and are working with partners like Miko to bring some of our audio content into the Miko 3 robot for families to engage around the home.
Drenik: How has the pandemic affected your business?
Vidma: As we all know, technology has become even more essential since the pandemic. At the end of the 2021 school year, we surveyed parents and found that nearly 70% of parents relied on early learning apps to help their children stay in school. And we have seen this impact directly on our business: Lingokids has tripled its number of users since the start of the pandemic. With so many parents relying on learning apps like ours, we feel compelled to constantly innovate and create new and engaging ways to help kids learn through technology.
During the pandemic, we surveyed parents in the United States and found that 86% of parents believe their child has missed learning social-emotional skills due to virtual learning. We decided to double our investment in developing activities related to skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy and critical thinking. We try to think about how we can help create better humans. How can we not only help children learn math and science, but also encourage them to treat each other better and be kinder? It’s a huge focus area for us now that we’re creating content.
Drenik: I noticed a lot of your content has gone viral on YouTube. What are the key factors in creating engaging and educational content for kids?
Vidma: According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, 94% of households with children watch YouTube. Although we have premium educational video content on Lingokids, we knew that to reach that massive audience that watches YouTube, we needed to be there as well. During the pandemic, we beefed up our content team and really focused on increasing our video efforts and I’m proud to say that we now have over a million subscribers on our YouTube channel.
When it comes to creating engaging educational video content for kids, we’ve found it’s important to release new versions of classics kids love, as well as totally new original songs. Our team created their own version of the ABC, the Lingokids ABC Chant, which is now our biggest hit, with nearly 200 million views to date. The Lingokids creative team is also constantly working to write and develop original songs and vocals like our ‘Weather song’ and ‘Like this’. In all of our music videos, we use engaging characters that kids love. Again, it all comes back to our PlaylearningMT method – the more children can play and have fun while they learn, the more the lessons, or in this case the songs, will “stick” with them.
It’s also important to take risks with your content, even though it may fail. We recently introduced “curiosity videos” where we dig deeper into a particular topic like health, weather, earth science and more. For example, our video “What is Manure — Introducing Kids to Composting” teaches children about composting and how manure can help plants grow, all tied to the concept of sustainability. We had no idea how well these videos would resonate with our community, but so far they have been a hit!
Drenik: With the increase in the number of children using technology, what do you see as the future of edtech for children?
Vidma: We believe personalization is the next big trend in the kids industry, especially in the edtech space. Every child learns at a different pace and has their own learning style. For example, at Lingokids, we’ve built a proprietary recommender system that recommends the best interactive learning games and activities for a child based on their interests, age, completion rate, and what skills they need. to strenghten. We’ve also customized our app so kids can choose their own activities, giving them the opportunity to make choices and think for themselves, which is empowering for young learners.
We also believe that personalized learning will soon move into spaces that deal with emotional intelligence, empathy, and critical thinking. As I mentioned before, these skills are more needed today than ever, but they have always been difficult to teach through an app. We are changing that.
Drenik: Thank you, Cris, for these insiders watching what you and the team are building at Lingokids. The future looks incredibly bright for the future of edtech.