Looking to learn more about math and science?
The best way to approach a complicated topic is often to get stuck in.
This is the logic behind Brilliant.org, a STEM learning platform that uses game-style puzzles to encourage engagement in complex subjects.
Brilliant.org has replaced videos and lectures with puzzles and games, teaching problem-solving by actually solving problems.
But how well does the gamified learning style actually work?
In this Brilliant.Org review guide, we’ll take a look at what this platform has to offer, and whether this learning platform is worth your time and money.
Brilliant.org, also known as just Brilliant, is a STEM learning platform, providing interactive lessons for learners from 10 to 110.
Breaking down learning into small modules with low commitment, Brilliant aims to develop math, science, and engineering skills, while fostering a love for the subjects.
Through developing STEM skills, Brilliant also hopes to develop critical thinking and analysis tools.
This is a STEM learning platform with the potential for some real world uses.
And by using a gamer-approach to learning, you can rethink your approach to STEM, and potentially learn to love the often divisive subject.
Brilliant offers a subscription service with puzzles and courses, allowing you to continuously learn, and to test that knowledge.
And testing is a key part of it. Brilliant wants you to use your training, and consistently offers new puzzles and problems to solve.
It isn’t just simple video learning — this is a hands-on experience.
Gamification is a big trend in online learning, and Brilliant.org is at the forefront. But what is the platform actually like to use?
Brilliant is all about STEM learning. Courses range from foundational level to advanced skill development, with guest authors contributing courses in niche subjects.
There are courses on Brilliant from refreshing your school math skills, to tackling complex topics you’ve never encountered before.
Broadly, the courses on Brilliant can be divided into three topics: Math, Science, and Computer Science.
Within these topics, courses are divided by subject and skill level. And within each course are a number of lessons, guiding you through the subject.
While the basic subjects are available for all subscribers, advanced topics require you to complete earlier courses.
This is essentially to allow the user to fully explore a topic, and to progress through the training.
On the surface, Brilliant can seem like a strange mixture of complex topics and game-style graphics.
But gamified user experience is actually designed to encourage engagement, and to ensure a more efficient learning process.
Even subjects that might initially scare you away can be fun to explore with the Brilliant teaching method.
We’ll cover the details of the Brilliant subscription below, but a subscription essentially gets you access to every course on offer, and new courses as they’re released.
Before you get started with Brilliant, you’re asked to complete a small survey.
This covers your age and learning style, and what you want to get from your Brilliant subscription.
You are then recommended courses to match your interests.
From here, you can start your courses!
Each course is divided into small lessons, to be completed on your own time.
This is 100% remote, self-motivated learning. Once you’ve finished a lesson, you also have access to the supplemental and practice content, which supports the course.
What about the lessons themselves?
Lessons on Brilliant.org follow a similar structure. You learn the basics, and you then test your knowledge with games and puzzles.
As you advance through the lessons, the games become more complex.
The lessons are clear and concise, gradually building your knowledge base so you can tackle complex subjects.
And with the games offering you hands-on experience with each concept, this is a very effective learning method.
Individual games feel unique to the subject. It isn’t just the same game over and over, with small details changed. And the games really are fun, even the complicated math games!
As you move through Brilliant.org, you are able to progress along a learning path.
These learning paths group courses together, guiding you from the basics, until you are able to master a subject.
Providing you with an overarching aim, these learning paths are an excellent way to encourage frequent learning.
Alongside the set courses, users also have access to Daily Challenges.
These are pretty self explanatory: each day you’re presented with a random new puzzle to complete.
The Brilliant.org user interface is exceptional. It’s clear and easy to navigate, with simple, bold designs.
It’s immediately engaging, and you want to start clicking through the options to see what’s on offer.
The Brilliant animations in particular are worth a mention.
They lean heavily on a classic gamer style, immersing you in the subject.
It’s easy to forget you’re learning as you play along with a Brilliant course.
This will certainly appeal to younger learners, but the quality of design is a big plus for all ages.
The same quality of user interface is found across the Brilliant platform. Even the “Meet the Team” section showcases superb design features.
Intuitive to use, Brilliant is an online learning platform that encourages you to get hands-on.
It can be installed on multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones, and even the free subscription will track your progress across devices.
The Brilliant app is an excellent addition to the platform. You can easily incorporate your lessons into the day to day, and continue to learn efficiently.
Although Brilliant is largely a self-guided learning platform, there is a supportive community surrounding it.
If you’re particularly stuck on a problem, there is a large database of answers available, plus wiki pages devoted to Brilliant puzzles.
You can solve your issue and progress, rather than allowing one tricky puzzle to completely halt your learning.
Brilliant also features an extensive FAQ section where most of your questions are answered.
If you have further issues, you can reach out to the Brilliant team via email. They appear to be responsive.
There does appear to be one small downfall in customer support: canceling a subscription.
Some users have found it hard to end their Brilliant subscription.
Brilliant.org is available as either a free service, or a subscription service. Let’s take a closer look at both options.
Brilliant Free Plan
The Brilliant free plan is, to put it simply, incredibly basic. On the free plan, you only have access to a preview of each course.
Although this is a useful way to determine if a course is right for you, it only offers a taste of what’s on offer.
However, Brilliant does give free users access to the daily challenge.
These range in difficulty from very easy, to surprisingly complex.
Based on the skills that can be learned in the full courses, the daily challenges are a fun way to introduce STEM learning.
The Brilliant free plan isn’t terrible, it’s just limited.
The Daily Puzzles are fun, but without the courses, Brilliant becomes a game, rather than an online learning platform.
Brilliant Subscription Service
The Brilliant Premium subscription service offers you complete access to the full range of courses, plus the daily challenge.
You also have full access to the daily challenge archive, so you can keep on playing.
You can subscribe to Brilliant annually, for a three-month period, or for a two-year period.
The longer you purchase a subscription for, the better a monthly saving you’re offered.
Overall, the prices are reasonable, particularly for an online learning platform.
Brilliant can also be purchased as a group subscription plan. This is an excellent choice for families.
Each user will get discounted access to the Brilliant courses, and their own user profile (so you can progress at your own pace, and follow your own lesson plan).
If you are interested in the Brilliant service, the subscription offers significantly more than the free plan.
However, the free plan is a great way to see what’s on offer, and try out some games.
Teachers and educators can apply to access Brilliant for free.
Brilliant can be used to supplement course materials, encourage logical thinking and analysis, and to refresh previously learned concepts.
If you are an educator looking to use Brilliant in the classroom, definitely consider applying for free access.
Who Is Brilliant.Org For?
Brilliant has an ambitious target audience: anyone from ages 10 to 110, those wanting to master the fundamentals, and professionals ready to explore advanced concepts.
This is supposed to be an online platform for students, professionals, and lifelong learners.
In reality, Brilliant won’t appeal to quite so many people, but this is still a course with a broad audience.
Brilliant is best for those studying in high school, or older learners looking to refresh their skill base.
The puzzles are a fun and engaging way to approach topics for the first time, particularly as you’re offered clear progression through the subject. For school kids, Brilliant can make learning less intimidating, and more fun.
Lifelong learners will also appreciate Brilliant, particularly those who haven’t engaged with STEM subjects in recent years.
The gamified approach offers a new way to tackle tough subjects, and the complex courses really do give you pause for thought.
However, if you’re already passionate about STEM, and have a well developed knowledge base, Brilliant is a little simple.
It does cover some advanced topics, but it isn’t an in-depth course. To really master these topics, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Brilliant might look appealing to children, but very young kids are likely to struggle with even the fundamental courses. This isn’t a platform for children under 10.
Brilliant.Org Pros And Cons
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and disadvantages of Brilliant.
The user experience with Brilliant is excellent. Each course is easily divided into lessons, and each lesson is accompanied by games and puzzles.
The gamified approach to learning is incredibly engaging, helped by the fact that the games themselves are of such high quality.
You’ll look forward to starting a course, which isn’t true of many online learning platforms.
This gamified approach also encourages engagement.
Using a hands-on method, you can immediately put your learning into practice, and explore difficult concepts in a way that is easier to grasp. The games are fun, but they’re also educational.
Struggling with a particular puzzle? It happens to all of us, and sometimes it can bring your learning to a complete stop.
Luckily, Brilliant has an active community, and they can help you move through the course.
The natural progression of Brilliant is another advantage.
With courses for a range of skill levels, you can continuously advance, putting your new knowledge base to the test.
And with this progression laid out from the start, you have a goal to work towards.
Finally, the daily challenges are an excellent addition, encouraging you to return to Brilliant frequently.
When you know you have a new puzzle to complete, you’re more likely to log on and progress through the standard courses.
Brilliant does offer some advanced subjects, but these courses aren’t hugely in-depth.
For professionals and those already adept in STEM, Brilliant doesn’t have much to offer.
And while we appreciate the gamer-style of learning, it probably wouldn’t work for hugely complex subjects.
With only one level of subscription service available, Brilliant is a little pricey
If you aren’t interested in exploring all the courses Brilliant has to offer — or, at least, most of them — it might not be worth it.
And while the free plan is a good way to discover what Brilliant can do, you can’t complete any course in full.
Conclusion: Is Brilliant.Org Worth It?
Want to learn more about STEM, but finding traditional learning routes uninspiring?
Brilliant.org is a gamified online learning platform, dedicated to math, science, and computer science.
Although Brilliant.org won’t appeal to those looking to go in-depth on a subject, the engaging platform is an excellent way to advance your knowledge of STEM subjects.
Not to mention, the high quality games and puzzles that accompany your learning are genuine fun.