Long-term Research

With its enormous scale, Khan Academy has a unique opportunity to push forward learning technology. We can offer students around the world a taste of exciting new ideas and learn by observing huge populations in action.

Khan Academy’s Long-term Research group connects expertise in design, technology, and pedagogy to explore ideas invisible to these disciplines in isolation. We invent on a long time horizon, but with a fast, iterative approach from the design world. We integrate with the organization's present projects: our research benefits from insights at scale now, and current work benefits from our ongoing discoveries.

We dream of a future filled with curious explorers and lifelong learners, solving important human problems.

Latest blog post: Safely showing students how others see their work
Diagram explaining how we'll first show a task to one student, then give a second student a task involving that student's work, then we'll give the first student a task involving the second student's reaction to their work.

As we all know, people are awful on the internet. Even without anonymity, bullying is a problem in schools. If we’re only asking students to grade each others’ work, we can handle misbehavior by looking for students whose peer grades rarely agree with others’… but we’d like students to produce open-ended responses to their peers’ open-ended work! Ideally, those responses won’t have to be evaluative: other formats may better stimulate further thought.

How might we help students benefit from rich reactions to their work while avoiding abuse?

Latest blog post: Safely showing students how others see their work

As we all know, people are awful on the internet. Even without anonymity, bullying is a problem in schools. If we’re only asking students to grade each others’ work, we can handle misbehavior by looking for students whose peer grades rarely agree with others’… but we’d like students to produce open-ended responses to their peers’ open-ended work! Ideally, those responses won’t have to be evaluative: other formats may better stimulate further thought.

How might we help students benefit from rich reactions to their work while avoiding abuse?

Diagram explaining how we'll first show a task to one student, then give a second student a task involving that student's work, then we'll give the first student a task involving the second student's reaction to their work.
Featured Project: Open ended responses
Handwritten student work with one word circled inbright orange ink

How can technology go beyond multiple choice and numerical input to support and leverage open-ended work? Taking cues from effective classroom practices, we explore activities which invite students to engage with each other’s work in the digital realm. Great classroom environments use elements of social learning with peers such as reflection, feedback, elaboration and synthesis.

We hope to provide access to these elements for students who don’t have access to a great classroom, and enhance these elements for the teachers and students who do. We’ve designed students’ interactions to help surface patterns in their ideas to teachers, authors, and researchers.

Featured Project: Open ended responses

How can technology go beyond multiple choice and numerical input to support and leverage open-ended work? Taking cues from effective classroom practices, we explore activities which invite students to engage with each other’s work in the digital realm. Great classroom environments use elements of social learning with peers such as reflection, feedback, elaboration and synthesis.

We hope to provide access to these elements for students who don’t have access to a great classroom, and enhance these elements for the teachers and students who do. We’ve designed students’ interactions to help surface patterns in their ideas to teachers, authors, and researchers.

Handwritten student work with one word circled inbright orange ink

About the team

Photo of May-Li

May-Li Khoe

@mayli

May-Li loves building systems that cultivate creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking. She brings over 20 years of experience designing new ways for humans and computers to interact, including the MIT Media Lab, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, IBM Research, Microsoft, and Apple’s human interface device prototyping group. Her work spans a broad range: from educational games at Leapfrog, to new user interfaces for new human input, such as Apple’s Force Touch and the Taptic Engine. May-Li directs design for Khan Academy, and co-directs the Long-term Research group with Andy. May-Li holds a B.S. and M.Eng. in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT.

Photo of Andy

Andy Matuschak

@andy_matuschak

Since childhood, Andy’s been making tools and toys for engineers, artists, designers, and now, students—for whom toys and tools often intersect. He co-directs the Long-term Research group with May-Li while lending technology and product leadership to Khan Academy’s current offerings. Andy comes to Khan Academy from Apple, where he helped build core pieces of iOS. He studied computer science at Caltech.

Photo of Scott

Scott Farrar

@farrarscott

Scott is interested in how students learn mathematics, and how the digital realm can support and improve learning. Additionally, Scott is committed to equity and social community in learning spaces. Scott draws upon his M.A. in Math Education from SFSU, where he researched student discourse in edtech contexts. In his eight years of teaching and leading in Oakland Unified School District and San Rafael City Schools, he explored and iterated on the design and implementation of dynamic math software in lessons and curricula. Scott earned a B.S. in Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara, where he was interested in geometry, topology, and astronomy.

Contact us
Have thoughts on any of our projects? See an opportunity for collaboration?
Send us email