Reflective Educational Research


In a partnership with Wonder Media Animation, Reflective Educational Research conducted a research study on the impacts of WonderGrove videos on students’ social skills, adaptive behaviors, and life skills.

Using an experimental research design, this is the first-ever empirical study conducted on the use and impacts of the WonderGrove Social Skills video library in traditional classroom settings. Working across a variety of grade 1-5 classrooms, this research illuminates how teachers use of media can positively impact students emerging social development and use animation as an effective classroom tool.


Methods and instrumentation

Over the 2022 school year, a total of 24 Grade 1-5 classroom teachers completed in two parallel, 12-week, pre/post randomized control studies.

In this randomized control study, teachers were randomly assigned to one of two learning conditions: the first had access to WonderMedia library (experimental group) and the second did not (comparison group) have access. Teachers in both study settings completed pre and post surveys of their classroom practices and student behaviors, in addition to using the HoloTracker app to capture and collect real-time classroom observations of targeted student behaviors. As such, HoloTracker provides the research study with a unique and powerful tool for the reliable capture of observational data around targeted student behaviors.

WonderGrove Social Skills

For grades 1-2-3 classrooms, the study focused on how students’ SEL and social skills were affected by access and use of videos. The targeted student practices of this study were aligned to the most common social skills addressed in WonderGrove Social Skills video series:

1. Respects Other Students
  1. Keeping hands to yourself
  2. Sharing with others
  3. Using encouraging words
  4. Using polite words
  5. Being a good sport
  6. Working together on a team (collaboration)
  7. Respecting other students belonging
2. Respects Teachers and School Staff
  1. Paying attention when the teacher is teaching
  2. Raising hand and waits to be called on
  3. Being patient in line
  4. Using appropriate voice level for situation

For grades 4-5 classrooms, the study built upon the participating school’s widely adopted Habits of Mind program and focused on how different student practices were impacted by teacher’s access and use of videos. The three targeted student practices used in this study were aligned to a sampling of the most common student habits addressed in WonderGrove’s Habits of Mind Skills video series:

1. Persisting
  1. Student persists in new or difficult tasks when introduced.
  2. Student asks questions and problem solves in order to persist.
2. Impulsivity
  1. Students control impulsivity during transitions.
  2. Students control impulsivity during unstructured time.
  3. Students control impulsivity during undesired tasks.
3. Empathy
  1. Students are able to recognize how others are feeling.
  2. Students respond to how others are feeling with empathetic words and actions.
  3. Students think about others’ feelings before acting.

WonderGrove Habits of Mind

So, all participating teachers were randomly assigned to one of two research conditions for 12-weeks during the middle of the 2022 school year. Teachers who were randomly assigned to have WonderGrove access were encouraged (but not required) to introduce the WonderGrove characters to their class and then show at least one (2-5 minute) WonderGrove video per day. Teachers in the WonderGrove setting also had access to optional supplemental materials related to each targeted student outcome. At the completion of the 12-week study period, all teachers were provided access to the complete suite of WonderGrove animations and resources:

WonderGrove Habits of Mind

Participating Social Skills Study Classrooms (Grade 1-2-3)

Control Treatment Total
Matched 5 9 14
Post Survey 7 9 16
Pre Survey 5 11 16
Total 7 11 18

Participating Habits of Mind Study Classrooms (grades 4-5)

Control Treatment Total
Matched 4 4 8
Post Survey 4 4 8
Pre Survey 5 6 11
Total 5 6 11

Because the relatively small number of participating classrooms (especially when matched over pre and post surveys) limits the strength of the pre-post matched survey design, teachers across all studies and settings were trained and encouraged to track real-time student behaviors through partnership and use of the HoloTracker app.

HoloTracker App Interface

Copyright © 2021 HoloTracker Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.

HoloTracker Logo


Both WonderGrove and control group classroom teachers recorded real-time classroom student behaviors using the HoloTracker App throughout the entire study period (as well as a pre and post teacher survey). The results shared here focus on the HoloTracker results, reflecting teachers’ real-time observations of targeted student behaviors during the collective 12-week study period. First, the results show the total number of HoloTracker observations (n=1,737) that were logged across the different research settings (pre/post and control and treatment settings) and study periods:

HoloTracker Logo

Overall, classroom teachers randomly assigned to the treatment (WonderGrove) condition recorded more student observations then teachers assigned to the control setting. As shown below, part of the reason for increased observations in the treatment settings would be the larger number of active HoloTracker participants:

HoloTracker Logo
HoloTracker Logo

Results show how many HoloTracker observations each teacher recorded, on average across the study period and settings. For example, teachers across the control group classrooms reported an average of 32.3 HoloTracker observations over the six weeks “post” time period of the study. Collectively, more teachers used HoloTracker in the treatment (WonderGrove) classrooms, so subsequent results will examine the relative results in each setting to explore potential impacts of WonderGrove access.

Social Skills (Grades 1-2-3)

Social Skills Observed (Pre)
Social Skills Observed (Post)

Social Skills Observed (Pre)
Social Skills Observed (Post)

HoloTracker Logo

Real-time teacher-recorded observations using HoloTracker show that the WonderGrove classrooms reported a 71% increase in recorded observations of students showing respect for other students, while the control group settings averaged just a 26% increase over the same period. Teachers in this study were also asked to observe and record observations of students disrespecting other students over the study period. These observations decreased over the study period by 26% for the control group classrooms , while decreasing 44% in the WonderGrove-enabled settings.

“Respect for teachers and staff” was an ancillary skill not directly targeted by the animations, but was deemed an important skill by project stakeholder to help the investigation generalize learned skills/behaviors in various situations. While both groups saw an increase in positive observations of respect for teachers and staff over the study period, the most notable difference between control and treatment settings was the difference in negative observations. Control group teachers who did not have access WonderGrove reported a 41.6% increase in disrespect toward teachers and staff, while the teachers in the WonderGrove setting reported a 6% decrease in disrespect toward teachers and staff, on average.

Habits of Mind (Grades 4-5)

Habits of Mind - Sentiment Analysis (Pre)
Habits of Mind - Sentiment Analysis (Post)

Habits of Mind Observed (Overall)
Habits of Mind Observed (Pre)
Habits of Mind Observed (Post)

Habits of Mind Observed - Positive Behaviors (Overall)
Habits of Mind Observed - Positive Behaviors (Pre)
Habits of Mind Observed - Positive Behaviors (Post)

To find out more about WonderGrove, please contact Janelle Vargo.

To learn more about WonderGrove please visit their website or watch Founder Terry Thoren's Ted Talk on the company’s background and vision.

For more information about the HoloTracker app please visit their website here.

References & Resources

The following academic studies provide a background and context for our study of the role and impact of media on students’ social skills, adaptive behaviors, and life skills:

Anthony, C.J., Elliot, S.N., DiPerna, J.C., & Lei, P.-W. (2020). Multirater assessment of young children’s social and emotional learning via the SSIS SEL Brief Scales – Preschool forms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53, 625-637.

Bebell, D. & Pedulla, J. (2015). A Quantitative Investigation into the Impacts of 1:1 iPads on Early Learner’s ELA and Math Achievement. Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice, 14, 191-215.

Burback, S. (2020). Construct validity of the behavior assessment system for children-third edition teacher rating scales (BASC-3 TRS): Comparisons with the adjustment scales for children and adolescents (ASCA) [unpublished master’s thesis]. Eastern Illinois University.

Caldarella, P., Christensen, L., Kramer, T.J., Kronmiller, K. (2009). Promoting social and emotional learning in second grade students: A study of the strong start curriculum. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37, 51-56.

Carroll, A., McCarthy, M., Houghton, S., O'Connor, E.S. (2020). Evaluating the effectiveness of KooLKIDS: An interactive social emotional learning program for Australian primary school children. Psychology in the Schools, 57(6), 851-867.

Child Trends. (2014, July). Measuring elementary school students’ social and emotional skills.

DiPerna, J.C., Lei, P., Bellinger, J., & Cheng, W. (2014). Efficacy of the social skills improvement system – classwide intervention program (SSIS – CIP) in the primary grades. School Psychology Quarterly 30(1), 123-141.

Donaldson, J.M. & Vollmer, T.R. (2011). An evaluation of the good behavior game in kindergarten classrooms. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(3), 605-609.

Ehret, P. (2020, September 22). Emotional ABCs accelerates social and emotional learning among first and second grade students. Emotional ABCs Evaluation.

Goodman, R. (1997). Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire [Measurement instrument].

Green, J.H., Passarelli, R., Smith-Millman, M.K., Wagers, K., Kalomiris, A.E., & Scott, M.N. (2019). A study of an adapted social–emotional learning: Small group curriculum in a school setting. Psychology in the Schools, 56(1), 109-125.

Lauricella, A. R., Howard Gola, A. A., & Calvert, S. L. (2011). Toddler's learning from socially meaningful video characters. Media Psychology, 14, 216-232.

Lynne, S., Radley, K.C., Dart, E.H., Tingstrom, D.H., Barry, C.T., & Lum, J.D.K. (2017). Use of a technology-enhanced version of the good behavior game in an elementary school setting. Psychology in the schools, 54(9), 1049-1063.

Massengale, L.R. (2016). The lived experiences of elementary students with disabilities self-advocating through speaking and writing [Doctoral dissertation, University of Central Florida]. STARS.

McKown, C. (2019). Challenges and opportunities in the applied assessment of student social and emotional learning. Educational Psychologist, 54(3), 205-221.

Merrell, K.W., Cohn, B.P., Tom, K.M. (2011). Development and validation of a teacher report measure for assessing social-emotional strengths of children and adolescents. School Psychology Review, 40(2), 226-241.

Raver, C.C., & Knitze, J. (2002). Ready to enter: What research tells policymakers about strategies to promote social and emotional school readiness among three- and four-year-old children: Policy paper n. 3. National Center for Children in Poverty.