Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about new tools enabling ‘passive learning’ - non-traditional platforms that facilitate learning through your existing media diet. For example, Arist, which delivers learning content through regular text messages. Others optimize for moments of heightened curiosity in any subject, instead of a fixed curriculum based progression. Browser extensions like UseFluent, and Toucan are examples of this. Each platform affordance creates for different modes of storytelling and recall.

And while these platforms are really interesting, Twitter is the biggest passive learning platform in the world.

It creates a new learning modality not possible before - the consistent exposure to discussions amongst experts and those learning from experts. Anytime I’m interested in a topic, following Twitter users from that subcommunity or topic is a great way to immerse myself.

It also creates a natural graduation from passive to active learning through the forms of interaction - reading tweets, participating in conversations, creating new tweets about the topic. The exercise of doing everything in public creates a natural skin in the game for learning.

Although it’s primarily a social platform (can be performative, not always a safe space) - it’s ability to create a natural learning experiences is pretty interesting.

UPDATE: A tweet from Naval today reminded me of how lists can be used to shape Twitter into a learning platform vs. a social platform. You can create lists around experts in your areas of interest - and Twitter allows you (on mobile) to add them as additional tabs besides your primary feed. Really cool and underused capability.