Emerging Project Research

The Michael Cohen Group LLC (MCG) is HITN Early Learning Collaborative’s independent research and evaluation partner. MCG brings its experience and skills to conducting both formative research—to aid the Collaborative’s producers in making their educational properties—and summative evaluation to assess each property’s educational effectiveness.

MCG is known for its ability to meet the challenges of designing, conducting and analyzing large scale, scientific research studies, often in challenging and complex social environments. MCG is listed in the Registry of Evaluation Researchers of the “What Works Clearinghouse” maintained by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

Formative Research

Formative research provides the Collaborative's producers with actionable feedback during content development and production. Formative research is conducted at regular and strategic intervals in order to inform the development of each media component as well as the overall property’s transmedia system. This research provides insight into:

  • appeal, use, and comprehension;
  • usability and navigation;
  • children's usage and play patterns, including combinations of platforms; and
  • indicators of educational impact.

Summative Research

Summative evaluation will assess the educational effectiveness of the three ELC properties. The summative evaluations will take the form of scientific, randomized control trials and will yield strong evidence of each property's level of educational effectiveness.


MCG has a strong commitment to sharing research findings and contributing to the body of knowledge focused on young children's literacy, numeracy, and early math acquisition. The dissemination of findings will also keep the educational and policy communities apprised of the Early Learning Collaborative’s efforts. Dissemination will take the form of publications, conference presentations, brief reports, and monographs.