A Better Learning Performance with AI or with Tangram?


A Better Learning Performance with AI or with Tangram?

Libsco « la Salon de la Liberté Pédagogue »

Saturday, 6 April,  the first event about schooling with different learning methods and a different teaching structure. « Libsco, la salon de la liberté pédagogique » was organised by « la Fondation pour La Fondation pour L’Ecole. The target groups are educational professionals like teachers , decision makers in education and parents who wanted to give their kids a different way of education. In 2018, already 74000 school kids followed education at one of the independent schools that belong to the Foundation.


The Need to Improve the Learning Performance

According to soseducation.org, 25% of the schoolkids in France leave CM 2 each year with weak and insufficient knowledge in reading, writing and calculations. We can add 15% to these 25% of children without basic skills in these subjects at all. This means a total of 40% of the CM2 age group or about 300.000 kids that leave the CM2 level with serious deficiencies that will prevent them from attending normal schooling in college.


3 Secrets for Happy and Successful School kids

The need for New Learning Methodologies to motivate school kids and teachers to perform better is increasing. Marc-Olivier Sephiha, certified professor in French and comedian organised the workshop « the 3 secrets for successful schooling ». There was a lot of interest to attend this workshop especially by teachers.

The Interactive Tangram Workshop

We were sitting with 3 or 4 people at a table with  Tangram pieces in front of us. Marc-Oliver first asked us if we were familier with Tangram. He asked us what we saw; the colours and shapes, and what we knew about the shapes. Then he gave us a picture of an image made with Tangram pieces. He asked us to copy this image as fast as we could. After this we have to cover the image and remake it without re-looking at it. It was very hard to reproduce the same image for most of us and it took a lot of time.


Making Sense and Talking Out Loud

Then he explained us the 3 secrets that will help everybody to improve their performance in reading and writing. First, we should make sense of the drawing. Use your imagination and create a visual object or a person in the drawing and describe what you see. For example in the image you can see a blue pencil with a red border and a yellow point on a green piece of paper. Secondly,  you have to analyse the pieces; what could be a triangle, what could be a diagonal in the image, how is the structure of the image?. And then the Third secret, you have to talk with loud voice what you see;  all details of the pieces and the colours, the forms and how it fits together. After these 3 steps, you turn the image and you start to rebuild the image without looking at it again. This time you will need much less time than before.

How does it work?

The Nuyts Method

It is because we have used our « conscious brain » instead of just our intuitive brain which we have used in the beginning. The intuitive brain is much faster but is not good for analytical reasoning. The method is called the Nuyts Method and is invented by Elisabeth Nuyts. The Nuyts Method helps against concentration and memory disorders, it helps with learning disabilities which are based on cognitive difficulties and pedagogical problems. It helps for congnitive disfunctions like dyslexia, dysorthography, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention disorders and memory of behavior.

Tangrams improves Orthographic skills

In Hong Kong the Hong Kong Baptist University HKBU has developed a series of new games based on Tangram. Tangram can be used to test and train children’s reading, writing and word indication skills at an early age. This visual reading literacy study is based on Chinese and English word-reading and visual orthographic skills test. It shows that for both languages the Tangram games help improve these skills. The test results were positive also for children younger than 6 years old.

An Accessible Solution for all Schools

Tangram is a low cost solution with endless possibilities. It is a very interesting solution for public and private education to help learning disabilities at a young age. It can be used for kids that have not started to learn to write or read or make words yet. It helps the development of reflection and the development of the creative part of the brain. And therefore it can help children with their learning disabilities based on neurological disorder.


Would a digital solution help in the same way?

Project Voltaire, a Digital Orthography Performance Solution

Project Voltaire is an example of a e-learning program that helps improve the performance of orthography. The program is working with a digital solution based on Artificial Intelligence. The more you practice, the better the program knows what mistakes you make. You can focus only on correcting those errors. This is very efficient and saves a lot of time in the learning process. The result of the many repetitions with the errors a better performance in short time. But also it is proven that the knowledge gained, stays longer in your memory.

Different Methods which stimulate different parts of the brain

Intuitive Brain

From these examples we can say that both of them have been proven to work.  But they work with different parts of our brain. Project Voltaire with e-learning based on memorisation with the use of  Artificial Intelligence. Their memorial anchorage (AI-based e-learning system) can help the kids reducing their orthographic errors in an efficient and memorable way. The basic learnings of reading, writing are already given to the child. Then the e-learning can help them improve their performance. This is the intuitive part of the brain and the process of memory training, which is more a « mechanical » learning process.


Cognitive Brain

On the other hand, with the Nuyts Methodology, which is using Tangram puzzles is stimulating the cognitive brain with reflection and imagination and creativity. This cannot be digitalised with AI. The methodology of Nuyts can already be used at a very early age of children. Tangram can stimulate the creative brain before kids start to learn to write and read. Reflection, imaginative thinking and creativity helps the development of the cognitive brain in an early stage.

The Role of Education in a Changing Society

There is a lot more to learn and to discover about new methodologies to improve school kids performance. New digital tools can make the live of the teacher more efficient. This helps the teacher to focus on more important personal education and improve cognitive learning skills. But better school performance is not only about new methodologies that are used in the school. It’s also about rethinking the role of school in the education process in the life of a child. This is a more holistic approach of education than just following the National School program. For some it is even a more anthropological question about human behaviour. For them it is about the role of educating human beings in a changing society which is confronted with digital transformation.

Please feel free to add your comments, questions or thoughts about this article.

If you are interested to know more about the digital transformation of education, please follow  @educforkids

You are very welcome to attend the upcoming presentation of the Masterclass MBA DMB research on the Digital Transformation of Education in the afternoon of the 23rd of May in Paris. Just let us know and we will send you the location details.



Fondation pour l’Ecole

The Nuyts Methodology

Methode Nuyts


Hong Kong Baptist University: new tangram games to improve young children’s visual-related literacy skills