It’s Time Blended Learning Was More Interactive (And What BrainPOP and Schoology are Doing About It)

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

It’s Time Blended Learning Was More Interactive (And What BrainPOP and Schoology are Doing About It)

Posted in Evolving Ed | March 23, 2017

Consider this a challenge—it's time to step beyond the PDF. We've talked about this before, but just digitizing worksheets and textbooks into PDFs and calling it blended learning is completely missing the point.

After all, a boring text turned digital text is still boring, right?

Educational content nowadays has the potential to engage students in interactive learning experiences we could have only dreamt of while we were in school (though I did use Reader Rabbit and it was awesome). Now, you have more access to content from publishers and other educators than ever before, so the world is your oyster, as they say.

But you know blended learning, and learning in general, is about more than just content. It's also about how that content is delivered, how students are able to interact with it, the creative ways they are able to show their understanding, and the means you have to assess and support their progress.

So if you pair engaging content with an LMS, such as Schoology, you have the makings of a great learning experience. 

BrainPOP and Schoology: Engaging Content in an Interactive, Pedagogical Environment

We expanded our partnership with BrainPOP to provide Schoology Enterprise users easier access to BrainPOP content via SSO and embedded links (Plus you can get a three month free trial. You just have to sign up).

This is because the combination of engaging content and an interactive, pedagogical environment makes learning a two-way conversation between instructors and students. It enables you more opportunities to step beyond the one-way flow of information (lectures) to build a reciprocal relationship where your students are actively engaging with concepts and showing you what they've learned.

BrainPOP is a perfect example of the content side of this conversation. BrainPOP creates educational content based around the ideas that learning should be playful, reflective, and multi-sensory.

They offer animated movies, games, and other highly interactive, multimedia pieces that enable students to engage with the concepts they’re learning. According to a paper published by SEG Research, this approach to content can have profound effects on the learning process.

They found that students who learned in part via multimedia content (specifically BrainPOP in this case) saw increases of 11–24 points on the SAT-10 exam. SEG Research explained that “there are multiple channels in working memory … an auditory and a visual channel” (pg. 10). Multimedia content takes advantage of both to increase learning overall.

Information Processing Model from SEG Research (pg. 11) based on R.E. Mayer’s Introduction to Multimedia Learning (2005)

The other side of this two-way conversation is the interactive environment. With an LMS, such as Schoology’s, content becomes part of a larger learning process.

An LMS gives you the ability to not only choose what your students interact with, but also how and in what context they interact with it. For example, our content integrations allow you to juxtapose videos and games from publishers alongside discussions, assignments, and quizzes so students can creatively show what they've learned, and you can track their progress. You can even roll this into an experience of your design—differentiated, self-paced, gamified, etc.

That's the reason why we partner with content vendors like BrainPOP. The more engaging content we can give you seamless access to in our LMS, the more you and your students benefit.

How to Start Using BrainPOP with Schoology

*One initial note: this integration is only for Schoology Enterprise users, so the information below has to do with setting up the integration at that the school or district level.

If you want to start using BrainPOP content in Schoology, start by signing up for the promotion and filling out this form. After that, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to our App Center and install the BrainPOP app 
  2. After clicking “Install LTI App” choose “Add to Organization”
  3. Finally, configure the app by navigating to your Organization Apps via the toggle at the top of the App Center. It will then be installed and configured for all instructors.

Note: You can learn more about LTI integrations and Schoology in this Help Center article.


After this integration is configured, all you instructors out there should follow these steps:

  1. Click the add materials menu, choose Add File/Link/External Tool, and choose External Tool
  2. You should see BrainPOP under the Tool Provider, if configured properly. Select it.
  3. Add the title you want and click Submit.
  4. Click the External Tool you just created. You’ll be able to search through BrainPOP’s content until you find what you want. Once you choose a particular piece of content, that External Tool will only be that single piece of content moving forward. This way you can incorporate this content seamlessly into your lessons.

That’s it! You’ve just harnessed the awesome power of LTI integration.

*Make sure to also check out our other content integrations including our CK-12 app.


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