Millions of children around the world are using digital learning technologies that claim to have developmental significance at critical points in their lives.

The Learning for Families through Technology (LiFT) project is a collaboration between Ferrero International, Gameloft and three research groups in the Department of Education: Applied Linguistics, Learning and New Technologies, and Child Development and Learning. LiFT is aimed at developing and evaluating the educational potential of app-based interactive activities for children and families. This project has developed and implemented a rigorous research agenda that combines insights from three streams: Vocabulary and Creativity, Joint Media Engagement, and Learning Analytics, to investigate language learning (for native and non-native speakers), creativity development, and parent-child interaction outcomes arising from the use of technology. 



The overall aim of LiFT is to benefit society through the development of cutting-edge research that will provide a better understanding of the nature of learning through digital technology and will serve as a key step in encouraging families to engage in their children’s education. 

Overview of Current Work

Click here for our latest project news. More detailed information is available to our Knowledge Exchange Hub members here. If you are interested in contributing to this research and would like to become a Hub member, please email the team to start the conversation. 

Children’s creativity apps 

We are reviewing a sample of commercially available apps that claim to support primary school children’s creativity to assess their quality (based on research evidence) and whether features of apps such as review ratings or cost relate to their quality. We will be designing and evaluating digital activities in terms of their impact on children’s creative thinking. Find out more about the creativity aspect of LiFT by clicking here

Evaluating a vocabulary app 

We have developed a digital vocabulary game to teach children the meaning of homonyms (when one word has several meanings, such as bat – an animal or a piece of sports equipment). The app is being evaluated through a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in schools and through learning analytics from app users. Find out more about the vocabulary strand of LiFT here

Joint media engagement practices 

We have conducted a large-scale international survey of the Applaydu app users to establish whether and how children and adults use technology together at home, exploring the potential predictors of joint media engagement. Preliminary results of the survey are available here

Features of apps, digital games and e-books that support joint media engagement 

To better understand this emerging field of research, we are conducting a systematic review of all available evidence. Read more about the results of this review here