Parents know that digital resources offer learning benefits, but they are skeptical about the products' educational claims.

A new learning ratings initiative will evaluate the learning potential of websites, video games, and mobile apps and will offer ratings and reviews to give parents, teachers, and students a guide to find resources to extend learning time, make learning fun, and build 21st-century skills.

Launched by Common Sense Media and social investment foundation SCE, the learning ratings are based on comprehensive research and a rigorous evaluation framework. The framework was developed after conducting interviews with academic experts, a literature review of key 21st-century learning skills, and research with national samples of parents and teachers, who voiced a real need for learning ratings like these.

Learning ratings and reviews are available now for more than 150 mobile apps, games, and websites, with more than 800 expected by the end of 2012. New digital media products now will be reviewed for learning potential as they enter the market, while earlier digital media reviews will be updated on an ongoing basis. In addition, Common Sense Media’s editors will be compiling special recommendation lists by age and subject or skill to help parents identify the products that best meet their kids’ and teens’ learning needs.

“As the digital world explodes, parents need help sorting the truly educational content from the content that’s slapped with an ‘educational’ label by marketers,” said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. “Common Sense Media is uniquely positioned to provide this new level of guidance and expertise for parents, educators, and young people across the country.”

The learning ratings initiative builds on Common Sense Media’s media ratings and education programs — through commonsense.org and content partners, Common Sense Media already offers ratings on more than 16,500 titles and offers education resources to more than 26,000 schools in all 50 states and 67 countries.