App of the Week – Khan Academy

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Khan logoAcademy, founded by Salman Khan in 2008, is a free educational site containing over 5,000 micro-lectures/tutorials on subjects ranging from line integrals and Green’s theorem to Symbolism and Art Nouveau. These aren’t lectures in the traditional sense, though–most tutorials simply contain an electronic blackboard with notes and illustrations that appear as Khan talks. The beauty of Khan Academy is the concept of “self-paced” learning, which differentiates it from the traditional one-size-fits-all lecture model. Students can pause, rewind, fast forward, and review lectures as needed. They can also take quizzes and do exercises to test their knowledge, check their progress in a subject, earn badges for leveling up in a subject, and more. If an instructor is using Khan Academy to teach their material, they can access their students’ progress, too, and determine exactly which concepts their students are struggling with.


Chances are you’ve already heard of Khan Academy, and perhaps you’ve used it to clarify fundamental concepts in physics or figure out a difficult calculus problem. Now that the semester is back in full swing, you may need a refresher in certain subjects–so here’s how you can integrate the app into your studies.

KhanLessonMost Helpful Features:

  • Access to all 5,000+ video tutorials on the regular website.
  • You can download videos to watch offline; perfect for traveling or studying on the go.
  • Most videos contain subtitles with an interactive transcript — so you can easily rewind or jump ahead in each lesson.
  • You can access your profile and progress in the app, so log in to receive credit and “energy points” for the videos you watch.
  • Pro tip: You can watch videos on the iPad while taking notes on your laptop, or vice versa.


  • Exercises are not built into the app itself, but they can be launched from the app into Safari. If you’re online, it’s a fairly seamless transition, but If you’re offline or want to use another internet browser, it’s not ideal.
  • You won’t get credit (assuming you’re logged in and tracking progress) for videos you watch offline.
  • The app can be buggy at times – for some reason, I haven’t been able to get subtitles to load on my app at all. The videos have always worked for me thus far.

Bottom Line: Khan Academy is an educational gem, and the app is, essentially, a portable mirror image of all the website has to offer. As always, if you use this resource, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Khan Academy – PC World Review

Khan Academy – Edsurge Overview

How Khan Academy is Changing the Rules of Education

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian