The Science of Game-Embedded Teaching

The research and the aim of it

The maths app Count on me! is developed from the research of Martin Hassler Hallstedt, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Akribian. The aim of Hassler Hallstedt’s doctoral research was to investigate the effect of additional and adaptive maths training on a tablet, with the ambition to develop better learning methods for children.

In his doctoral dissertation Closing the Gap Hassler Hallstedt could scientifically prove that students using his program 15 minutes a day during 8 months significantly improved their critical math skills compared to students who did not use the program.


Students that used the program developed by Hassler Hallstedt showed significant and substantial improvement in critical math skills compared to students who did not use the program. The gap between low performing student who used the program and higher performing students who did not use the program decreased.

Study I

This study investigated if arithmetic skills could be assessed in a reliable and valid way on tablet. The examination showed that arithmetic scales could be transferred from paper-based tests to tablet with comparable psychometric properties, although not for a pictorial scale, and that separate norms are needed for tablet.

Study II

This study demonstrated that training on a tablet, for on average 19 hours across 20 weeks, improved basic arithmetic skills after training in the maths conditions compared to control / placebo conditions. The effects were medium sized at post assessment. There was a fadeout of effects at 6 months follow-up, where small effects were shown, and the effects decreased further at 12 months follow-up.

Children with lower non-verbal IQ seemed to gain significantly more at follow- ups than children with higher non-verbal IQ. Furthermore, persistent long-term effects were found for children with lower non-verbal IQ were found. Similar patterns, although not significant, were demonstrated for children with low socioeconomic status and children attending schools with high levels of diversity.

The study found no additional effects of combining working memory training and maths training.

Study III

Using a machine learning analysis, this study found that children demonstrating a positive response at 6 months follow-up were characterized by having completed 90 % or more of the maths program at the default level, in combination with having a fairly favorable socioeconomic background.

Journal of Educational Psychology®

Martin Hassler Hallstedt’s research was published in one of the world’s highest ranked educational science journals: Journal of Educational Psychology®, which publishes original, primary psychological research pertaining to education across all ages and educational levels and exceptionally important theoretical and review articles that are pertinent to educational psychology.

List of papers

Hassler Hallstedt, M., & Ghaderi, A. (2018) Tablets Instead of Paper-Based Tests for Young Children? Comparability between Paper and Tablet Versions of the Mathematical Heidelberger Rechen Test 1-4. Educational Assessment.

Hassler Hallstedt, M., Klingberg, K., & Ghaderi, A. (2018) Short and Long-Term Effects of a Mathematics Tablet Intervention for Low Performing Second Graders. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Hassler Hallstedt, M., & Ghaderi, A. Predicting Long-Term Response in a Mathematics Tablet Intervention. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Reprints were made with permission from the respective publishers.