The Brilliance of Brilliant.org#
I’ve always been a bit “STEMy,” but only in the Technology sense of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. I hate math. Or, at least I thought I hated math until I tried Brilliant.
You may know Brilliant from educational advertisements that show STEM problems being solved in visual, animated ways. Those ads are awesome. Looking at them, it feels like you’ll soon be as smart as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. We may as well put all this COVID-19 time at home to some good use, right?
I finally overcame my math phobia enough to try Brilliant. It’s like learning with my high school Algebra II teacher. With Brilliant and Mrs. Lewis, this stuff somehow makes more sense, feels less intimidating, and is even kinda fun. (Kathy Lewis, if you ever read this, thank you for being so wonderful!)
What I love about Brilliant:
- You are in control. You choose what courses you take, in what order, and at what pace.
- No tests, no shame. You don’t get grades. You don’t hit gates or roadblocks. No one else knows what courses you’re taking or how well you’re doing. If you get something wrong, an explanation sets you straight. (You can look at your Stats if you want to, but you can also ignore them.)
- Course variety. You have hundreds of hours of courses to choose from across Algebra, Geometry, Number Theory, Calculus, Probability, Basic Mathematics, Logic, Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Computer Science, Quantitative Finance, and Chemistry. (The Chemistry offerings are fairly basic, and there aren’t any Biology courses. I’m hoping to see improvement in these areas over time.)
- Great design. Brilliant has a clean, crisp visual aesthetic that does an excellent job of using images, animations, and videos to convey complex concepts. It also has adorable artwork for many of the logic problems.
- Community. You can post STEM problems online for others to solve or join in the solving fun yourself.
- Useable anywhere and anytime. Brilliant works on smartphones, tablets, and web browsers. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, you can learn something. Most individual problems can be worked in a minute or two, and your place in a lesson is always synced across your devices.
Brilliant is a bit pricey. There are certainly many apps and websites that teach similar topics for free or at a lower cost. But, I think Brilliant’s combination of self-guided learning, lack of testing or scores, lovely design, community, and usability across devices and situations makes it worth the cost.
If you are a student, the parent of a student, or someone interested in life-long learning, I highly recommend giving Brilliant a try.