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Learnist: a Pinterest for learning

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A new online social learning platform, Learnist, is growing and expanding to mobile with the release of iOS applications for the iPhone and iPad.

Learnist has been created by social learning company Grockit, and is based on a similar concept to that of Pinterest, but with an educational focus.

Learnist allows users to create 'lessons' on specific academic or casual learning topics by curating information from around the Web or uploading original content onto learning boards.

The service was first launched online in May, and has been in beta since - allowing new users to join via invitation only. In the first two months, the service is said to have gained “tens-of-thousands” of users. Creating learning boards is, however, currently limited, but Grokit says this is opened up on a rolling basis. “Thus far, less than 10 000 people have been granted full access and board creation capabilities after careful review of the requester's online footprints.”

Grokit explains: “Our invite process is not some sort of 'word of mouth' marketing ploy. We are being careful to grow our community of users from educational experts and category experts, so that the learning you experience at Learnist is high-quality and thoughtful.”

Learning boards can include content from services such as Google Maps, Google Books, YouTube, Vimeo, SlideShare, Wikipedia, Ustream and blogging platforms. Similar to Pinterest, users can use a Learnist bookmarklet to share content from across the Web on their learning boards.

“Notably, several thousand American teachers joined Learnist, creating 'Learnboards' covering 100% of the new Common Core academic standards for public school grades 7-12. And, influential non-academic experts are adopting Learnist, including best-selling author of Lean Startup, Eric Ries and fashion designer Melissa Fleis, popular contestant on reality TV series Project Runway,” says Grokit.

Grokit CEO Roy Gilbert says: “Whether it's in the classroom, the workplace or the home, people learn best when they do it together and often when they are sharing a computer or tablet screen. Our goal is to help people learn from and teach each other with the incredibly rich educational resources found all over the Internet.”

When Learnist was first unveiled, Grokit founder and chief product officer Farbood Nivi said: “The Web is full of free content - blogs, books, feeds, music, videos, podcasts - that can be assembled quickly into lessons.

“Before Learnist, anyone seeking this information had to discover all of these resources by searching, surfing, watching, listening and keeping track of dozens of sites. Learning on the Web meant that a person had to assemble all of the key resources themselves.

“Before Learnist, a person didn't have the ability to collect resources, share notes and explanations, and order or reorder Web assets in a way that helps the next person make sense of it all. That's what Learnist does. It makes sense of all of the world's information that already exists online, for free.”

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