Common Sense Review
Updated April 2014


Read-only access to sprawling library of crowdsourced content
Common Sense Rating 2
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Users can view articles by popularity or by category.
  • The education section of Learnist has a wide array of articles on topics from classroom management to multiplication tables.
  • Learnist is visually appealing and easy to navigate, and users can easily save interesting articles to a reading list or share articles via social media.
  • Unfortunately, the content is uneven: Typos abound, and citation is scarce.
Images and interface are attractive and engaging; categories and reading list feature make for easy browsing.
Uneven quality and unintuitive search features make the this read-only experience hard to use for intentional learning.
Bottom Line
Learnist offers great visual style and interesting topics, but the content itself is too brief and too unreliable to result in deep learning.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Article titles and images provoke interest and draw the user in, though the articles themselves are extremely brief.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

With little ability to search and even more limited deep content, teaching and learning opportunities are limited to broader glosses on big topics.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

Developer website has nice guidance on the intent and best features of the app, but in-app guidance and search features are limited.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

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.

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What's It Like?

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.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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.

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See how teachers are using Learnist