Cheating Khan Academy is a topic that’s coming up fairly frequently in academic discussion. Specifically, academics are trying to understand why learners feel the need to cheat. Khan Academy represents a great way for self-motivated learners to learn math and science topics, so why cheat? The why is pretty simple. Khan Academy rewards people for doing activities that are very possibly a waste of time.
Some educators are supplementing their education programs with Khan Academy material as part of the curriculum. Measure of completion is gauged by looking at a student’s profile. Those that complete the tasks are awarded the points by the Khan Academy site. For people who are visual learners, video can be a great supplement. But for people who already understand the topic, assigning Khan Academy videos as required viewing is unnecessary and a poor use of time.
Why Cheat on Khan Academy?
Khan Academy awards Energy Points and badges for specific actions on the site. By gaming the system, you can quickly run up points for actions you wanted to skip. Or if you simply want to show up your friends with a higher point total, gaming the system makes sense to more quickly “level up”.
Each video in the Khan Academy library is worth a fixed number of Energy Points. Whether you watch a two minute video or a much longer video, you get the same number of points. You can’t get all the points for a video without allowing it to play through 100% of the file. Some learners don’t need 100% of the content on a topic in order to understand it. Many of the two minute videos could be skipped entirely because they are asides to the main topic.
It doesn’t matter if there’s a teacher at the front of the room or a person teaching on video, if you’ve already got the topic down, you’ve got it. From a performance perspective, you don’t get credit for the whole thing unless you let the whole thing play all the way through. For people who already understand the material, cheating affords the appearance of having done something they never needed to do. For those who are cheating without knowing the material, it will become fairly clear later on that they should have learned the material.
On the exercise front, Khan Academy rewards correct answers. There’s an algorithm involved in determining the number of correct answers required to show proficiency, but ultimately any set of exercises can be completed if you answer the first five correctly. Running up exercise points unlocks badges in a variety of areas.
How to Cheat Khan Academy
Free Energy Points for Videos
The easiest way to get points for watching videos is to allow them to play in the background while you are doing something else. Just open a browser window with the video you want credit for, mute the sound, and do something else. When the video is complete, go to the next one and continue racking up points. Keep in mind that if your goal is to pass a test or actually learn something, this method may not help, but if you are simply looking to gain points that indicate completion, playing videos in the background works great.
Playing more than one video at the same time doesn’t currently work, so you have to play them one at a time. Over the course of watching a two hour movie, you can rack up a fair amount of Energy Points and unlock a few badges without ever having to actually watch a video.
If your goal is to get more points from video views, choose videos from an area of study you aren’t currently focused on.
Easy Energy Points and Badges
Assuming you already have some background in a topic, you can rack up points quickly by answers questions. For instance, you can clear out all the basic addition, subtraction, division and multiplication exercises at five answers per topic, if you are already proficient.
The Ethics of Cheating Khan Academy
As a parent who also happens to be a gamer, I have mixed feelings about anyone who is trying to game an educational opportunity. Earlier this year, my son was flying through his math homework. It turned out that instead of actually working out the problems he was using a calculator. In the real world, using a calculator is perfectly acceptable; it’s probably more useful to know how to arrive at a correct answer using any means available than limiting yourself to only being able to use one method. At the same time, the lesson was to learn how to solve the problems using a pencil and paper, which was taking him longer once we caught on to his shortcut. Still, it’s refreshing to know he’s resourceful enough to know there’s more than one tool available to arrive at an answer.
I think the real issue here is how Khan Academy is being used as a teaching tool. If the material is a required substitute for other forms of learning in an educational program and students are capable of demonstrating proficiency in the subject without spending time watching Khan Academy videos, then there’s no harm in finding ways to avoid what would otherwise be time wasted. In these instances, Khan Academy has become the digital equivalent of worksheets. The educational program should be re-evaluating what they are doing to provide a solid educational foundation. On the other hand, if the “cheater” can’t demonstrate proficiency, rather than demonstrating proficiency, it’s possible the educational program needs to address the fact that they aren’t properly reaching students by finding materials that fit the way the students learn.
What’s your take on people who run up their Energy Points on Khan Academy?