Is brilliant.org as amazing as it promotes itself?
When I first saw that website, it immediately flashed inside my brain ✨ Everything looked so refreshing and innovative. Just the front page of brilliant is showing off so many fascinating sliders and a visualization of a neural netwo-
It all seemed great yet costly. For at least $13 a month, I do expect numerous great courses. So, I bought 3 months of brilliant and dived straight in.
I always had a lot of interest in mathematics, and the website offered a kind of path to work your way up to complex numbers.
If you are not familiar with complex numbers, you don't have to be. It's advanced math, which you would only try to learn in university. Still, Brilliant offers it, which gave me a goal. The website even encouraged me to build up a streak, and I pushed it to 37 once 🔥
But, immediately after starting, I encountered a small issue. I tried out the “final test” for the first course (Pre-Algebra) which is fifth grade algebra, but confused me wasn't really able to answer most of the questions. So, I thought that I should actually do that course first / work my way up from the bottom. Just… it was boring. I didn't actually learn anything while grinding that course and in addition, I didn't understand some simple principles because the lesson presented them interactively which made them sometimes a bit cryptic, at least to me.
Still, I got trough. And I'm actually almost at the end of the Algebra 2 course, which is the last station before complex numbers are introduced.
I turned doing “a brilliant lesson a day” into a frequent habit, but encountered a problem. Because I was able to do all the lessons on my phone + the questions in the lesson I was doing only wanted a multiple choice answer, made me clear the lessons in a sloppy way. I didn't always sit down at my desk and got out a piece of paper to calculate some of those equations by writing them down. So, that left me with actually not remembering most of the things I did, and that frustrated me. I don't know if it was actually just because of my way of doing it, but I find the multiple choice answers to be counterintuitive.
Sometimes brilliant asks you very very exhausting questions where you have to solve a mathematical problem. And just having the option to guess an answer sometimes makes you click what you think seems the most correct. Then you actually don't learn the principle, but only the intuition about how to guess questions better.
But all in all, I have to give brilliant a lot of credit for some aspects but instead of writing them combined with a story I'm going to list simple pros and cons of brilliant now.
- Countless different courses
- cooperation with YouTubers like Kurzgesagt (which results in great courses)
- The best way to improve your intuition
- Very engaging task design
- Alternative to educ. Private tuition
- complex principles explained in a fun way
- you can download your courses to do them offline
- The learning principles are sometimes counterintuitive
- You sometimes have to learn things which you are not interested in to reach your goal
- The website is sometimes a bit buggy (randomly loose streak, can't download a certain course)
The myth of visual learning
The factor that brilliant promotes isn't even that great because:
I obtained that information from multiple studies just like this one: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/pspi/PSPI_9_3.pdf
Before I say bye, though, please take my statement with a grain of salt. I'm not an expert, but learning math visually wasn't the best experience for me personally.
Welp… have a productive day and I hope to see you soon! :>