Khan Academy LearnStorm

Bringing the joy of learning back to schools across America

Khan Academy is a nonprofit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. What started as simple tutorial videos created by its founder Salman Khan in 2006 is now a free world-class education platform. Khan Academy has delivered over 1 billion lessons and is used by almost 50 million students worldwide and growing. Content and lessons are available in 36 languages through a global community of volunteers.

We continue to smile whenever we get to use the designs that Moving Brands created. They helped us bring to life a campaign that celebrated the joy of learning.

– Nancy Lee, Vice President of Consumer Marketing


Khan Academy has strong ambitions to become universally known, valued, long-lasting and indispensable. We were engaged to understand the nonprofit’s objectives, position its recent acquisition, and to help the organization launch a nationwide back to school learning challenge.



One of our first partnerships together was bringing its back-to-school program, LearnStorm, a free, 6-week initiative, to life. LearnStorm empowers teachers and students with the skills and mindsets to start the school year off in a fun and celebratory way. It aims to engage grades 3-12 across the US. The campaign’s outreach focuses on high-needs schools with the goal of signing up 14,000 teachers and 500,000 students to the program.

Teachers receive insightful data through LearnStorm to better understand students’ progress to support their ongoing learning. With LearnStorm, students can practice on any subject at their own pace and work their way through a series of research-backed growth mindset activities to earn points and badges while contributing to the overall progress of their class.

Khan Academy’s goal is to build LearnStorm into an experience that is fundamental, relevant and reliable in classrooms across the nation. It is meant to inspire and motivate students to continue learning beyond its 6-week timeframe, incorporating a broad classroom user base and growing the use of the product with teachers and students.

LearnStorm focuses on a research-backed growth mindset and captures the journey of learning in a positive way: Keep going. Keep growing. Extending from this mantra, we created a system inspired by the metaphor of tree rings that grows with layers of color, illustration, imagery and texture. While its graphical system is instantly recognizable and familiar to Khan Academy’s design assets (colors, illustrations and characters), we remixed the components of the existing identity to bring renewed distinction and energy to the LearnStorm communications.

A bank of patterns and imagery was created to allow LearnStorm’s team to create endless combinations of interchangeable graphics. The design were rooted in a subject, coherently connecting the visual to the teaching itself.

Using platforms such as Slack and Google Slides, our design team worked closely with Khan Academy’s team to allow easy, ongoing access to the work in progress and iterate in real time. 

Moving Brands found a way to combine both our illustrative and photographic styles in one design system; that’s no small feat, and it leaves the flexibility to include the broad range of subjects we teach, which include both very abstract and the very concrete concepts.
– May-Li Khoe, Vice President of Design, Long-Term Research Co-Director


We created multiple assets and applications to endorse and support the fullness of the campaign from digital communications including email and ad templates to designing the initiative’s microsite. We also produced printed components including an in-class poster and celebratory certificates which were dispatched to teacher across the country.

Khan Academy debuted the new LearnStorm campaign at ISTE 2017 – a teacher’s conference with educator-tested strategies and resources to transform learning and teaching. Teachers and students can also access the initiative through the microsite here.

Since the campaign launched in August of 2017, the results have been astounding. We’re proud to share that 975K students and 24K teachers signed up to LearnStorm. 65% of students and 24% of teachers are new to Khan Academy. These numbers represent twice the goal of LearnStorm and four times last year’s signed up numbers.

LearnStorm was also associated with 90 million minutes of learning which is roughly 25% of overall learning on Khan Academy for that 6-week period.