Mission.io in Action

Evidence and Impact


Mission.io meets Level IV evidence requirements in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as validated by our third-party research partner LearnPlatform by Instructure. This means that our program has demonstrated a strong theoretical rationale and logic model based on rigorous research. Work is currently underway to conduct more in-depth efficacy research in the coming years. 



Today’s students have grown accustomed to interactive, digital environments. In light of this, gamification has proven to be a promising way to increase engagement, interest, motivation, and academic achievement. Gamified learning programs that involve compelling narratives, challenge and complexity, opportunities for students to re-frame failure, develop a school-based identity, and receive immediate feedback have shown to be effective at engaging students and increasing their motivation to learn. This is especially important given that boredom has a significant negative effect on student motivation, engagement, and academic achievement.

It is also essential to use holistic approaches to create more authentic and rigorous opportunities for students to practice complex problem-solving, higher-order thinking skills, and real-world collaboration – all of which are linked to increased engagement. Research shows that engagement and collaboration have a powerful influence on academic and behavioral outcomes. Grounded in the principle by Kanevsky & Keighley (2003) that "learning is the opposite of boredom," Mission.io employs practices to intentionally engage students and nurture a positive classroom climate that infuses social-emotional skills into all experiences to give students opportunities to practice these vital skills that are too often taught and practiced in isolation.

The multifaceted challenges of modern education require so much more than isolated solutions but necessitate a comprehensive, integrated approach informed by academic research. Mission.io emerges as a resounding answer to a multitude of educational concerns, synthesizing a range of educational theories and best practices into a cohesive, transdiscplinary experiential learning model that stands far above more narrow, less integrated alternatives.

Read our ESSA Tier IV report and view full citations here 

"Learners need more practice in contexts where the practice isn’t boring."
James Gee 2003
James Gee


“There is virtually nothing as engaging as [the] state of working at the very limits of your ability.”
Jane McGonigal 2021
Jane McGonigal


"The beauty of Mission.io's approach lies in its seamless integration of various educational components—content knowledge, application, gamification, engagement, social-emotional skills, and literacy—into a unified whole."
Screenshot 2023-09-26 at 3.55.38 PM-1
Cameron Wilson


“[Mission.io] reaches out and grabs kids in a way that books and textbooks just can’t do."
"Learning is the opposite of boredom."
Kanevsky & Keighley


Highlights and Major Findings

Our R&D Journey


Getting started

NSF logoA SBIR Phase I award from the National Science Foundation enabled us to build a gamified, online resource to help students develop 21st-century skills through immersive group STEM simulations.


Greater expansion

NSF logoA SBIR Phase II award (and follow-on funding) from the National Science Foundation allowed for the expansion of the technology to allow for the measurement of real-time skill and performance data on 21st-century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, initiative, and resilience.



Early research

ASEE logo Through funding and support from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and NSF, post-doctoral researcher Dr. Patricia Langford conducted research into program implementation in 119 schools with groups of K-9 students during the 2020-2021 school year. She analyzed skill growth in students after weekly use of the program.

Skill Growth (revised) 


Systematic usage analysis

Mission.io Logo

Dr. Patricia Langford conducted an analysis of the systematic use of the program on the learning and development of social-emotional skills of elementary students. The information derived from program files of 380 schools, 107 school districts, and 19 states. 

Collaboration showed sustained growth (+.1016 from mean value). Critical Thinking also showed growth (+.424 from mean value). Correlation analysis displayed a strong, positive relationship between Knowledge and Application (.841).

Click HERE to read the full report.

Spring 2023

Customer satisfaction survey

Mission.io Logo

Our bi-annual customer satisfaction survey of Spring 2023 showed that the program was utilized by 1,275 teachers and 85,400 students in 379 schools during the 2022-2023 school year. Teachers (N=184) reported that the program had a significant/high impact on critical thinking (73%), problem-solving (82%), communication (82%), positive classroom environment (82%), and interest in science (74%). 

Infographic showing Spring 2023 customer satisfaction was 92%  Infographic showing Spring 2023 Net Promoter Score was 65

Almost every teacher survey conducted in recent years revealed a desire for significant content expansion, particularly into subject areas beyond STEM. This common theme in feedback led the team to start exploring literacy integration and expansion into new content areas.

Spring 2023

Literacy integration

US Department of Education Seal  IES logo

We received a SBIR Phase IB award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to develop a cross-curricular literacy branch of our program. With this funding, our team developed a cross-curricular literacy prototype for Grades 3-5 to integrate literacy skills into our existing gamified K-8 program by embedding reading, writing, and speaking tasks into the core program’s standards-based STEM missions.

Spring 2024

First quasi-experimental study

US Department of Education Seal IES logo

To evaluate the prototype created during Phase IB, a quasi-experimental pilot study was conducted in partnership with Dr. Patricia Langford and Dr. Jadelyn Abbott of Weber State University to assess the prototype's effectiveness in enhancing engagement, motivation, and literacy outcomes. The sample included participants from six elementary schools, involving a total of 17 teachers and approximately 220 students.

Click HERE to read the usability and feasibility report. The full study including a detailed analysis of student literacy and engagement outcomes will be published soon.

Spring 2024
March 2024


16945506849389568161026862333015Mission.io now meets Level IV evidence requirements in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as validated by third-party organization LearnPlatform by Instructure. This means that our program has demonstrated a strong theoretical rationale and logic model based on rigorous research. 

Click HERE to view our full report and supporting ESSA Level IV documentation.

March 2024
The Future

Future research partnerships

We are currently actively pursuing several research partnerships and exciting opportunities that will lead to more research into program efficacy in 2024 (and beyond)! 

16945506849389568161026862333015-1STEM Center SIUE

We'd love to partner with you! If you are a researcher or graduate student who is interested in conducting research into our program, please get in touch below! Or if you'd like to be a district or school research partner, let us know. 

The Future

Interested in being a research partner?