Over the past few months, the company said, tens of thousands of people have joined the site to check out about 20,000 user-created “learnings” – collections of web videos, blogs, images and other content sequenced to help people learn various topics and skills.
Among the users are a “small army of teachers,” said Grockit founder Farbood Nivi, who have created numerous resources to support K-12 students and teachers, including learn boards for every Common Core standard for grades 7-12 (the standards are part of a new education initiative to bring differing state standards into alignment).
But, he added, Learnist is as much a platform for the life-long, or casual, learner who wants an education in yoga or photography as it is for the formal student who needs extra coaching in chemistry or algebra. As of now, he said, the content on the site is split about 50-50 between formal and informal learnings.
Since launching in 2007, Grockit’s social learning technology has focused on online test prep. But earlier this year, Nivi said, the company decided to point about 90 percent of its resources toward Learnist, which was initially created as more of an experimental platform.
“We live in this post Facebook, post YouTube world,” he said. “And we have the opportunity to take content and technology and sequence them and curate them to teach literally anything.”
Learnist’s growth comes as momentum is building behind digital tools for both formal and informal learning. K-12 teachers and students already accustomed to using social platforms like Edmodo and Schoology, could easily integrate Learnist into their experience. And casual learners who already seek out web resources to learn new skills or for self improvement could see Learnist as another option. Grockit made its name in test prep content, but its latest move with Learnist positions it to draw a larger audience.
The company has raised nearly $25 million from investors including Atlas Venture, Benchmark Capital, Integral Capital Partners, GSV Capital, NewSchools Ventures and angel investors including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus.