Want to learn something? There’s probably helpful stuff about it all over the web: videos, pages, digital books and more. If someone who already knew about the topic would put it all in one place, you’d be all set.
That’s the idea behind Learnist, a site which a startup called Grockit launched earlier this year. It’s designed to let anyone create online learning materials by selecting and organizing materials that are already out there. Today, Grockit released an iOS app which brings these learning boards to the iPhone and iPad.
At the moment, the people curating all the content are a relatively small group of folks who Grockit has invited to do so. But the company plans to let anyone create boards soon, and the service is otherwise open to the public.
Learnist feels a little like Pinterest, a little like Facebook and a little like YouTube — but really, it’s not exactly comparable to anything else that’s out there. Each board is divvied up into pages you can click (or tap) through one at a time; each page has embedded content such as a video, a web page, a product from Amazon, or a Google Books e-book. As you make your way through the material in a board, you can comment on it or share it on Twitter or Facebook.
What are people creating boards about? Everything. Some of Learnist’s invited curators are grade school teachers and professors who use Learnist to design materials meant to complement traditional instruction, and others are just sharing interesting tidbits about topics they care about. I saw boards about Roccoco art, Paul Ryan, Captain Kirk, Bourbon, old-time hockey, yoga for kids, Higgs Boson and Switzerland, among other topics.
At the moment, Learnist feels a bit subdued: It’s new enough that it doesn’t yet have a bustling community, and the users who are able to create boards are still figuring out what they can do with them. But the idea has loads of potential. Once anyone with passion and expertise can start building boards, it could be a big deal.