Some of the most interesting content on Learnist is the content that appears to have been generated by students and their teachers. Unfortunately, features for generating content are only available through the Learnist website, making this app a read-only experience. Using the website, teachers might have their students create their own learnboards on a variety of topics, creating individual entries on different elements of a larger topic, and then students might use the app to explore those learnboards. Students then might add their classmates’ learnboards to their own reading lists. This might be a great way for students and teachers to generate outlines for review or to share resources on multi-step projects. Teachers might also use Learnist as a lesson in citation: Few entries in the library cite their sources extensively, and teachers might create an activity using Learnist to help teach students about the importance of citation in research and writing.Continue reading Show less
Learnist is a collection of crowdsourced content intended to offer users the chance to explore a world of knowledge. Image- and video-heavy entries fall into broad subject categories and can also be collected into "learnboards," which allow users to create and organize a few entries under a common theme (like how to memorize students’ names or how to search for a job). Users can browse entries by their popularity or by their category, and learnboards and entries can be saved to a reading list for later review.
Learnist has potential to be a more visually appealing Wikipedia, and in many ways it achieves that goal: It’s a great way to browse interesting articles on a wide array of topics by a wide array of authors. But while learnboards and entries often have appealing titles, the content is uneven, brief, and often alarmingly unedited. Additionally, the app lacks features for adding new content, making this a read-only experience for users.
Learnist seems like a far better app for entertainment than for education. It’s a terrific platform for free-form exploration and enrichment; indeed, its short entries and arresting images make it great for falling down the rabbit hole of interesting posts on new and increasingly engaging topics. Learnist shares Wikipedia’s reliance on crowdsourced content without its commitment to citation, leaving users without context and with real questions about the entries’ reliability.
While the learnboards often have appealing titles, the content is uneven, brief, and often alarmingly unedited. Search features within the app are especially disappointing: A search for “World War II” resulted in some related entries on Franklin Roosevelt and the Warsaw Uprising and then a series of unrelated posts about current events, Area 51, and a paid learnboard on creativity in filmmaking from director Gus Van Sant. Additionally, keep in mind that the crowdsourced nature of the app means students might encounter inappropriate content in the course of seemingly benign searches.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).