Substrate Games develops game-based learning app for chemistry students

Substrate Games, a spinout company from Iowa State University that builds educational software, has developed a game-based learning app for students learning organic chemistry.

The app, Mol Chemistry, seeks to make understanding fundamental concepts of organic chemistry engaging by offering learning exercises within the app. Throughout each exercise, users gain points for each correct selection, allowing them to move on to the next exercise.

“Our whole goal is to leverage our game-based learning expertise and our scientific visualization skills and really try to create something that is much more intuitive and engaging,” said Will Schneller, CEO and co-founder of Substrate Games

In 2017, Substrate Games received a $225,000 SBIR grant from the National Institute of Health giving them the funds to develop the app.

“Within the app itself, there are no videos and very little text,” Schneller said. “It’s all game-based exercises. Basically, what we did is we’re going through all of organic chemistry, taking each individual concept, and building game-based exercises from that. The goal is for these to be smaller, microlearning environments where a student can pick it up and play it for 5-15 minutes and really get a different perspective on the subject matter.”

The app launched in March of 2018 and is currently available on IOS and Android products for $4.99.

Going forward, Substrate Games plans on expanding its game-based learning platform into other subjects.

“We’ve tried to build the framework in a flexible and scalable way,” Schneller said. “Really our intent is to provide a comprehensive toolset for any student who’s going to be a pre-med or pre-health student.”