Thousands of educational apps are available to students, teachers, and parents, yet research on their effectiveness is limited. This meta-analysis synthesized findings from 36 intervention studies and 285 effect sizes evaluating the effectiveness of educational apps for preschool to Grade 3 children and the moderating role of methodological, participant, and intervention characteristics.
First, results from rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental studies yielded a mean weighted effect size of +0.31 standard deviations on overall achievement and comparable effects in both math and literacy.
Second, the positive overall effect masks substantial variability in app effectiveness, as meta-regression analyses revealed three significant moderators of treatment effects.
Treatment effects were larger for studies involving preschool rather than K–3 students, for studies using researcher-developed rather than standardized outcomes, and for studies measuring constrained rather than unconstrained skills.