Cengage's New Developmental Math Tool Breaks Lessons into 'Learning Bursts'

Cengage Learning has launched MindTap Math Foundations, what the company said is the first in a suite of new products designed to address the lack of college readiness among students in the United States. The tool is a developmental math curriculum and platform that breaks lessons into 15-minute "learning bursts," using interactive video lessons, exercises and games. Students can access it by phone, tablet or computer at any time.

Cengage representatives said they gathered input from nearly 1,000 students while creating the new program, many of whom said lack of time and the need to juggle family and job responsibilities were responsible for their lack of preparation. Thus MindTap Math Foundations, which gives students the ability to work in brief "bursts" of problem-solving and critical thinking skill exercises.

"Students consistently told us that time is their biggest barrier to completion and they need the ability to work at their own pace," said Cengage Learning Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Jim Donohue. "We designed MindTap Math Foundations to make it easy for students to work through the curriculum and connect with their instructors and other students in a way that fits into their daily lives."

More than 1,000 instructors at 180 higher education institutions have signed on for a pilot program this spring to provide input and feedback. Student analytics and enhanced communication tools, like an interactive whiteboard, may help instructors identify at-risk students and intervene earlier.

Cengage representatives said they expect MindTap Math Foundations to be available for full-scale purchase this summer, in time for the fall semester. Students can purchase as much or as little access as they need, starting with 10 weeks of access for $55. Students who use the program for at least three hours a week will not have to purchase an additional access code if they need to retake the course.

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Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.