Image: The Bruneian

Islamic Mind 2.0, the gamified Islamic education application developed by local startup Mindplus has seen a 300 per cent increase in new users registration, as parents and educators look for alternative educational resources to support home-based learning during the COVID-19 crisis.

The home-grown app has rapidly gained its popularity following the closure of all schools and educational institutions across the sultanate. 

Founder of Mindplus Pg Mohd Khairi Pg Hj Metussin showing the Islamic Mind 2.0 app. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Mindplus founder and chief executive officer Pg Mohd Khairi Pg Hj Metussin saw a considerable surge in demand of about 16,000 app downloads for the past weeks and reached 10,342 registered users from Brunei alone.

“We believe the increase in the number of active users and the number of downloads have been triggered by the pandemic situation. It has been overwhelming, but at the same time we want to leverage on the situation,” he said, adding that digital-learning adoption has never been more effective within this period.

Pg Mohd Khairi said the app has received a lot of positive feedback from educators and parents on how the app has helped them deal with home-based learning activities. 

Mindplus staff at work on the Islamic Mind 2.0 app at their office. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Behind Islamic Mind 2.0

Released in 2017, the app features interactive stories with voice-overs, animation, games and quizzes to make credible Islamic education fun for the young generation.

As technology continues to expand its role in traditional learning environments, many children are growing up with apps and digital media as part of their lives which includes entertainment and learning.

To help address this, Mindplus introduced a revolutionary teaching method and to develop a localised educational application to innovate the notion of a fun-learning solution in religious education. 

The initial idea of the app development was due to the lack of available innovative academic solutions for religious education and that most contents online are not verified.

The Islamic Mind 2.0 app. Image Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“The main issue is children are now more attached to tablets and devices, and conventional approaches have less appeal to them,” the ceo explained.

He added: “Hence, we feel that there was a need to create a product that would make learning credible Islamic education fun and most importantly accessible and free to all.”

The first edition of Islamic Mind was created for one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisations Muhammadiyah in 2016 and a year later the company decided to launch the Brunei version Islamic Mind 2.0.

“It took us almost a year to develop Islamic Mind 2.0 and we need to ensure every delivery is precise so as to avoid misinformation,” he said, adding that the challenges in development were due to the sensitivity of the topics and content of Islamic Mind.

The contents in Islamic Mind, the ceo added, are all approved and endorsed by Islamic Association of Brunei Darussalam such as the Islamic Studies Department (Jabatan Pengajian Islam) and Pusat Da’wah Islamiah.

Image: Azrina Zin

Interactive app features

Islamic Mind 2.0 can be easily downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play Store, offering a variety of 100 topics covering curriculum-based subjects especially for religious school students from preliminary to primary levels.

What’s fun about the app is that it transforms curriculum-based subjects into something more creative and interactive.

 The study subjects included in the platform include Tauhid, Jenayat, Haji, Ibadat, Mu’amalat, Siam, Tarikh, Tasawwuf, Thoharah, Zakat and Tajweed, among others – this app is sure to keep users occupied.

Each lesson is delivered with an animated video as well as an accompanying quiz that allows users to accumulate points and experience by registering a personalised account.

Image: Azrina Zin

The app follows the journey of the adorable characters Alif and Aliyah by using fun storyline-based videos, quizzes, and activities.

“Alif is the clumsy one, who is prone to making mistakes and encountering problems. Whereas, Aliyah is the wise close friend who would always be there to help Alif with his problems,” said Pg Mohd Khairi.

The new features include the Arabic script for writing Malay (known as Jawi) and also the gamification form of Quranic letters and pronunciation (Hija’iyah).

Image: Azrina Zin

Hija’iyah game is designed for children to familiarize themselves with the 28 Arabic alphabet letters and pronunciation by encouraging them to read aloud. 

Pg Mohd Khairi hopes that by combining digital technology and an innovative teaching method, Mindplus can help support educators (Parents and Teachers) to engage with students in both group and one-on-one settings.

For future plans, the company is working closely with the Islamic Studies Department (JPI) on the third phase of the app, which will see topics expanded from more than 1000 topics for students ranging from Preliminary stage to Primary 6

“The next phase, Islamic Mind 3.0, will be a learning aid tool for the teachers and they can also monitor the activities done by their students. We will provide a dashboard for schools and teachers, which includes understanding student’s progress. With this tool, the teacher can give assignments and tests to their own students,” he stated.

In addition to that, the Islamic Mind will also roll out an English option to complement the current version in Malay.

Mindplus will continue to work closely with their audience to improve their user experience and to make Islamic education fun and interactive for all.

Image: Azrina Zin
Image: Azrina Zin

This article was first published on April 18, 2020 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 85

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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