DC startup Legends of Learning aims to be ‘Netflix’ for educational games

WASHINGTON — A D.C. startup is rolling out hundreds of downloadable learning games for middle school students that are free for teachers who help develop the games.

Legends of Learning began operating in September and is now working with more than 300 game developers. So far, the company has produced more than 500 curriculum-based games focused on earth and space, science, life sciences and physical science.

The company, which compares its games platform to Netflix and Amazon, expects to offer close to 1,000 games by the end of spring including games on different subjects and games aimed at different age groups.

The games are intended to teach serious subjects through play, according to the company.

“We create the curriculum that the games have to teach, and it’s aligned to the standards that the teachers are already required to be teaching to. But the game developers have creative control for how to make a game that teaches these things,” Legends of Learning CEO Vadim Polikov told WTOP.

The company’s own research, through Vanderbilt University, finds that the learning games bring results.

“Teachers who use the games in the classroom found a big difference in engagement, and students who played the games outperformed their peers on standardized tests,” Polikov said.

Since the platform launched, more than 2,000 teachers have signed up to use it, according to Legends.

The platform allows teachers to set up playlists for individual students or entire classes. Teachers can track completed assignments and gauge student comprehension.

The menu of games is free for teachers who work with the developers, otherwise each video is just 10 cents per game, per student. School districts can pay a per-student $10 annual fee for a more comprehensive dashboard that tracks student progress.

Game developers are paid each time their game is downloaded, however the company declined to say how much the developers are compensated.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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