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Find Outstanding Educational Content With Lernabit

Find Outstanding Educational Content With Lernabit

The aim of Lernabit is to be the best app for self-learners. No matter what you want to learn, Lernabit can help you. Up until now though, Lernabit has been a note taking app that helps you more efficiently memorize what you learn. The only problem with that is that you still needed sources of content to study. In other words, Lernabit could help you remember what you learn, but it didn’t give you much content to learn from. The most recent update to the site is the first step to changing that.

Across the site, you will now see links to articles from a hand-picked selection of websites that offer high quality educational content. Using RSS feeds from those sites, Lernabit automatically fetches the most recent articles from those sites and creates a note with a description of the article and a link. And, just as you can view a person’s profile page and see what notes they have created, you can also look at a specific feed to see more from that particular site.

Even cooler, by turning the links into regular notes, they behave just like any other note on Lernabit. They appear in search results, you can add them to your review list, they show up in the feed, and they are included in the list of suggested notes. Simply put, this update means that there is a lot more content available for browsing on Lernabit.

What feeds are included?

By now, you are probably wondering what feeds are included. Here is the complete list categorized by general topic as of this post, and more will be added over time.


General education


Foreign language



Tech/Programming/Computer Science


Suggest A Feed

The list of feeds shown above is just a starter list. If you know of another feed that should be added, you can suggest new ones here. I’d especially like to see some more suggestions in these categories:

  • Art and design
  • Computer science, programming, etc.
  • Science and math

If you know of great sites focused on education, send them in! They might be included in the public feed on Lernabit.

Android App Update: Version 2.4.17

by Aaron Wright 0 Comments

The latest version of the Lernabit Android app has been released. Version 2.4.17 has some important bug fixes.

One critical bug was a crash caused when the screen orientation changed while recording audio. That has been fixed. This release also has fixes for note syncing. There are some design improvements scattered throughout the app to improve navigation around the app.

Click here to get the latest version of the Android app.

Android App Update: Version 2.4.16

by Aaron Wright 0 Comments

A new update for the Lernabit Android app should be appearing soon in your list of updates.

Version 2.4.16 includes a major change to the home screen by moving the search box up to the top of the screen. Where the search box used to be, you will now see a list of suggested notes that you might like. These suggestions are based on the notes in your review list, which is a good indication of the types of content you want to learn more about. If you don’t have any notes on your review list yet, it just pulls up a random selection of notes with a high score (more on that in a second). As you add more notes to your review list, it can give better suggestions.

The suggestions are also partially based on a scoring system that has been built to help find the best notes on Lernabit. The score for a note is based on a variety of data points like word count, the number of people who have that note on their review list, and others. However, the score does not consider the publication date of the note. There is already a feed to see the most recent notes in chronological order. The scoring algorithm is designed to help find the best notes overall and to dig up notes you might find interesting regardless of when they were created. It is only used sporadically right now and will be applied to more features in the future as the algorithm is tweaked and improved.

Also new in version 2.4.16 is a major performance improvement in infinite scrolling, plus some other minor bug fixes, design changes, and performance improvements.

Get the latest version of the app now

Take Notes From Anywhere With Offline Notes

by Aaron Wright 0 Comments

Just a quick update. The latest version of the Android app has just been released (version 2.4.15).

There are a lot of optimizations and bug fixes, but the coolest feature is the new ability to take notes while offline. When you create a new note, the app will try to create it as normal. If no internet connection is available, it gets saved for later. Then, the next time you start the app, it will check for an internet connection again and upload the notes that were created offline. This also works with attachments.

With the ability to take notes offline, the app becomes a lot more useful in situations where an internet connect is not available, such in remote areas where you might find interesting plants or wildlife. It is also useful for places like museums which often have poor wifi (at least in my experience).

Click here to get the free Android app

You Can Now Add Images To Your Notes

You Can Now Add Images To Your Notes

Are you a visual learner? A lot of us are. And even for those who are not primarily visual learners, sometimes an image or diagram can make a concept so much easier to understand. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that Lernabit now supports the use of image attachments in notes.

Lernabit has already supported audio and text format notes for a long time, and images are just one of many other formats that will become available over time. And, as with audio format notes, even if you attach an image to your note, you can still add up to 10,000 characters of text. By adding an image with ample text, you can create a rich visual explanation of a concept while writing a thorough description to point out specific parts of the image that are worth noticing.

Field Test

I got a great chance to put the new image feature to a field test during a recent family trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. During my trip, I found all kinds of cool ways to use the Android app to make my visit to the zoo far more educational than it would have been otherwise. Here are just a few examples:

Interesting animals

It speaks to the amazing diversity of life when someone like me, with a degree in biology, can still find a surprising number of animals I’ve never heard of before. One example is Coquerel’s Sifaka, which is a type of lemur that can jump 20 feet. When I found such an animal, I would take a picture of it, title the note with the name of the animal, and add some hashtags so it would be easier to find.

Cool animal facts

Another way I used the app was to take pictures of the fact cards on display at the exhibits, especially the ones with cool facts about the animals. For example, I learned that sea lions hunt using echolocation similar to how bats find their prey. I took a picture of the plaque and turned it into a note.

Speaking of bats, I was talking to a zoo employee about the fruit bats. She told me that the skin on a bat’s wing is the fastest-healing membrane in nature. I thought that was really cool, and wrote it down in Lernabit with some hashtags so it is found by other people reading about bats who might find that interesting. See the note here

Differences between animals

One of the most useful applications of image notes was in helping me understand the differences between things. For example, there was a sign explaining the different spot patterns of different kinds of giraffes. If someone explained it to me, I don’t know if I would fully grasp it. But seeing them side by side made the difference very clear, so I took a picture of the sign and made that a note.

Another case where this was useful was at a display showing the differences between crocodiles and alligators. They had a skull from each one side by side, and the difference is actually quite obvious when you see them together. See the note

Other uses

Outside of my visit to the zoo, I’ve also found some other ways the new image feature can be useful.


In microbiology, there are 2 main types of bacteria, known as Gram positive and Gram negative, and they are primarily distinguished by the structure of the cell wall. Trying to describe this with text would be a hopeless effort. But a diagram showing them side by side makes it easy to see the details of how they are different. I found such a diagram online, so I uploaded the image to Lernabit, added some hashtags, and included a link to the original source so I can go back if I need more information. See that note here.

Art deco

About a month ago I made a visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a wedding. While I was there I had the chance to swing by and visit the Art Deco museum downtown. I never really understood what art deco was. But seeing it in person helped me understand not only what it looks like, but how it was influenced by other trends of the time period, such as the fascination with Egyptian relics and the push for more women’s rights.

At the time, Lernabit didn’t support images. But I still took a lot of pictures and have now uploaded them to Lernabit. You can pretty much tour the museum right from Lernabit, or get more information while you are there in person. And with the hashtags, you can browse around and see how the art deco style relates to other related topics, like the Egyptian history that influenced it.

These examples only scratch the surface of what you can accomplish by adding images to Lernabit. It is an exciting feature that greatly expands the power of Lernabit to feed the curious mind. Create a free account here

Take Better Notes And Learn Faster With Lernabit Notes

Over the course of Lernabit, people have written to me and said that they like the concept of learning new things by teaching others. But as I spoke to more people, I noticed a few common objections that would keep coming up again. For example, some people said they liked the idea of learning through audio, but said they didn’t want to make their lectures publicly available to everyone else. Others told me that they like the concept of learning by teaching others, but weren’t thrilled about creating audio lectures to do it. Today, I’m excited to announce a new feature on Lernabit called Notes, which clears up those problems and just about all of the other common complaints.

Notes are like Bits 2.0

So what are Notes exactly? Previously, Lernabit was comprised entirely of audio lectures called “Bits”. You would use the app to create an audio lecture for others. By doing so, you would improve your own understanding of the subject while creating free educational content for others.

I like to think of Notes as basically being Bits 2.0, because Notes can do all of that and a lot more. Notes allow you to create notes about new things you learn, and Lernabit will remind you when it is time to review it. Your notes can be in audio or text format, with more formats coming soon. In addition, Notes can be public or private. So if you want to create public audio lectures for others to learn from, you can still do that with Notes. The difference is that Bits required you to do that, while Notes just makes that an option.

This simple chart shows Bits and Notes side by side:

Bits Notes
Audio Format
Create notes in audio format
Yes Yes
Text Format

Create notes in text format

No Yes

Create public notes for others to read

Yes Yes

Create private notes for you only

No Yes
Review scheduling

Automatically create a schedule to review your notes

No Yes

Bits are going away

Because Notes can do everything Bits could do and so much more, Bits have gone away completely and all existing content has been converted to Notes. That eliminates redundant features and avoids any confusion between the two features. In addition, “Notes” is a more intuitive name for new visitors than “Bits”. It is a lot more obvious what the feature does.

Other cool features

Along with the added ability to write notes in text-only format, Notes have some other cool capabilities.

Remember with one click

The real magic happens when the One Click Remember feature comes into the picture. As you browse public notes from other people, there is a button that allows you to remember it with one click. Just click that button, and that note will be added to your review schedule. When you find a cool Note, you can remember it forever with one click.

Hashtag support

Notes support the use of hashtags to categorize your notes and easily explore related topics.

Powerful search

The search feature has full support for the new privacy settings. When you enter a search, it will check if you are logged in and automatically include your own private notes in the search results along with public content from others. One search will show you whatever is most relevant, whether it was created by you or someone else.

Rapid note taking

There are a lot of benefits to taking notes in small chunks. For example, research has found that when you shuffle your content before reviewing it, you are more likely to remember it. Notes makes that easier to do by being optimized for quickly taking many small notes in rapid succession, as you might do while watching a lecture.

These optimizations include preserving information that is likely to stay the same. For instance, Notes taken in rapid succession at a lecture will likely all be given the same privacy setting, so that form option will stay the same so you don’t have to keep manually selecting that option. Just write your note, throw in some hashtags, and submit it. The form will clear itself and get ready for the next note.

Flexible options

While the Note form is optimized for many small notes, not everybody likes to study that way. If you prefer a longer, in-depth explanation, you can do that too. Notes can be quite long– up to 10,000 characters in length. As a comparison, this blog post up to this point is about 4,000 characters. Even at that character limit, you can also attach an audio file to it for even more information.

Lernabit Notes are a step up from Bits, providing a range of powerful new tools to learn, study, and share your knowledge.

Click here to start taking some notes

Better Browsing, New Topics, And Other Improvements

It has been a while since I last posted here on the blog, so I thought I would write about some of the stuff I’ve been working on lately. While there haven’t been any monumental changes since my last post, there have been a lot of incremental improvements across the site. So let me point out some of the recent changes to Lernabit.

More Ways To Browse

A problem for a long time was the lack of discoverability on Lernabit. The site has had a very good search function for a long time, but that is only useful if you know what you are looking for. When you just want to discover new topics, that isn’t as useful, so I built some nice new ways to browse Bits. In addition to seeing the most recent Bits, you can now browse using any of these other methods:

  • Tags page – There was already a page to browse by tags, but it was far too confusing and complicated. I’ve streamlined the process into a more traditional “tag cloud” format that lets you just click on a tag to see Bits and related tags.
  • Most popular – These are the Bits that have had the most listeners.
  • Random – Self-explanatory. Just a random selection of Bits.

Redesigned Bit Page

The page to listen to an individual Bit has had some design enhancements. Based on some experiments to see how people use Lernabit, I’ve added some features and removed others to focus more on the stuff people want.

  • Cleaner design – One improvement was to make a cleaner interface. The page overall is a lot more organized and has far less clutter than the previous design.
  • Author bios – There is a new box that shows author bio information to help create a more personal feeling to the lecture.
  • Better recommendations – The “Listen Next” box in the sidebar has been improved. Previously this was pretty much a random list of content. This has been rewritten into a more intelligent recommendation system that finds Bits related to the one you are currently listening to. If it can’t find any related content, it will still fall back and show some random ones.

Speed Improvements

Along with removing unnecessary clutter from the Bit page, I’ve made some other optimizations to the code. Together, these changes have decreased page load times by about 40%.

New Topics

In addition to site changes, I’ve also been exploring other topics to teach. Most of the lectures on Lernabit focus on science, because the lack of science education and outright rejection of science is– in my opinion– a significant threat to our well-being over the coming years. But it is also true that different topics are best taught in different ways. For example, science education is best when it challenges your critical thinking, history is often best taught as a story, while foreign language requires frequent recall and repetition. So my goal is to explore the limits of Lernabit as a teaching platform by using it to teach a wider range of subjects. That, in turn, can uncover new ways to make it even better.

Thanks for using Lernabit, and have a great 2017!


The Lernabit Android App Is Now Available As Pre-Release

It has been a long time since I’ve posted here. Sorry about that, but I’ve mostly been busy writing code on the site and the Android app. Recently you might have noticed some substantial speed improvements on the site, as well as bug fixes and interface improvements. I’m also currently working on a tagging system and some other ways to make it easier to browse and discover lectures.

But what I really want to talk about today is the Android app. After months of work, I’m happy to announce that the Android app for Lernabit is now in open alpha phase!

App Features

Android app Bit page

The audio player

Most recent Bits page

Browse the most recent Bits.

The home screen of the Android app

The home screen


The Android app does all of the things you can do on the website. As with most mobile apps, it responds more quickly than the website and has a shorter startup time. But I didn’t just want the app to be a mobile version of the website, because the website is already designed to work on any screen size. Mobile apps have a lot of potential to leverage some of the exciting hardware on phones to do things a web browser can’t.

Specifically, the real benefit of a mobile app for Lernabit is that the phone has a built in microphone, which makes it much easier for anyone to create their own lectures. As such, this feature is the major focus of the app right now. I built it using what I’ve learned from experience creating a lot of lectures myself. You can use the app to record your own lectures and upload them to Lernabit. But I didn’t stop there.

The app is designed to work side-by-side with the website as one unified publishing tool. When creating lectures, I personally find it helpful to have notes available while recording the audio. You can actually do that with the app. You can open the website on your computer and write your notes directly into the publisher, then use the app on your phone to record the lecture while reading the notes on your computer. When you are done, just submit both of them and they will be paired up automatically. Pretty cool!

What Is Alpha Phase?

For anyone who might not know, Alpha Phase– or Alpha testing– is a phase of software development when the software is built, but is still far from perfect.

As far as the Lernabit app is concerned, it is done, and it can be downloaded and used, but there might still be some bugs. But as long as you have it installed, you will continue to get bug fixes delivered through the Google Play store as those updates become available.

How To Get It

To get the app, search for Lernabit in the Google Play store, or just click the link below:

Click here to get the app


Introducing The New Lernabit!

by Aaron Wright 1 Comment
The new Lernabit homepage

The new Lernabit homepage

In my previous post, I set out my plan to take Lernabit offline so I could rebuild the site with numerous improvements in mind. Today, after months of development, I’m excited to announce that the new Lernabit is live! Read on to find out what is new, and what is in store going forward.

What’s new?

Create your own Bits

The most significant change to Lernabit is that anyone can now create Bits of their own. In version 1 of the site, only I could create Bits. But after making many of them, I began to realize just how valuable the process of actually creating Bits was to my own education.

The best way to reinforce your own knowledge of a subject is to teach it to others. That part is not a new idea. But what I found out was that teaching via audio is particularly effective at strengthening your knowledge.

When teaching through a format like video, you can often let yourself get away with not knowing every last detail. If you don’t quite grasp something, you can just show a diagram or an image that might help the students understand, but it doesn’t help you understand. Audio doesn’t allow this. When all you have are words, it forces you to understand every little detail so that you can explain it without images.

Realizing this, I decided that the new Lernabit would be a place not only where people could learn, but it would be a platform where they can also teach others what they know, thereby improving their own understanding of the topic.

With this goal in mind, I focused a lot on creating a powerful publishing tool that would make it as easy as possible to create educational audio content. The new tool allows you to write notes on what you want to teach, save drafts to come back and work on later, and easily upload the audio file for your Bit. Once you publish it, it’s immediately live on the site so others can listen to it.

Support charities

The second major change to the site is a pledge to donate at least 5% of all profits from the site to charities focused on education around the world. The goal of Lernabit has always been to make education more accessible. But while creating educational audio content is a major step toward making that happen, it still isn’t enough.

According to data released by Facebook, there are still 4 billion people around the world without Internet access. In addition, a wide range of economic, political, and social problems prevent people from obtaining the education needed to improve their economic situation and create positive change for their communities. As a for-profit venture, I believe Lernabit can be a powerful tool to help change this.

One of the cool parts about Lernabit is that the educational content is all created by you. Since it doesn’t cost me anything to create that content, I can afford to give the money to some of the excellent non-profit organizations that are building schools, improving infrastructure, and improving lives through education.

I believe it is important for us to realize that lack of education is not a single problem; it is a set of many problems that each need a different solution. When for-profit businesses team up with nonprofit organizations and we each attack different problems, we can create real change. So I’m proud to pledge a portion of all profits from Lernabit to help find the solutions we need.

What’s next?

Android app

A top priority is to create a native Android app. In my last post, I said I was unsure whether or not this would be available right away. I’ve decided to wait before releasing that. A working version is already built, but it is still very unstable and not quite ready for prime time. However, if you are interested in being a beta tester for the app, let me know in the comments or message me on Twitter or Facebook.

Other features

Some other ideas and features coming up are:

  • A rather sophisticated system of voting on Bits. But instead of just showing the most popular Bits, this would ideally show those that are of the highest quality in terms of factual accuracy. The details are still being worked out.
  • Commenting on Bits to allow discussion and feedback.

Keep your login info

One last note: If you had an account on the old site, your old login username and password should still work. Or you can just use the “Forgot Password” tool if you don’t remember your login data.

I’m excited about this new site. The new features and my pledge to support nonprofits will be powerful tools to improve education around the world.

Click here to signup for Lernabit

The Past, Present, And Future Of Lernabit

Ever since I published the first post on this blog back in October, Lernabit has been a lot of fun. People have told me how much they like the idea and many have provided awesome feedback and suggestions.

What most people don’t know is how I have been building it up to this point. The first version of Lernabit was built on a netbook. An Asus Eee PC to be exact. Any web developer would agree that such a low quality computer makes modern web development very slow, and even painful. But I simply did not have a better computer or the money to get one. What I did have (and still do) is a passion and dedication to make education better, so I pushed forward using the tools available. Some things have now changed.

About a month ago, I won a HeroX prize for presenting my ideas for ways to improve financial education. It was a relatively small prize, but it was a big moment. The goal of the contest was to uncover the problems with financial education, but the ideas I presented can also apply to education in general. Winning this contest was validation of some of the fundamental ideas behind Lernabit. In addition, there was some prize money involved, which I used to buy a fantastic new computer.

All of this means that I now have the tools and funding to build the Lernabit I have wanted to create all along. As a result, I have decided that I will be relaunching Lernabit. So allow me to explain what will be happening and what will change.

Why is the relaunch necessary?

One question I have been asked is why I would relaunch the site instead of modifying what I already have. This was a tough call to make, and the rationale is mostly due to technical considerations.

Even before winning my prize, there were some design flaws in Lernabit that were beginning to surface. I’ll probably write a second blog post explaining the more technical details for anyone who is interested, but to put it simply, some of technology used in version 1 of the site does not work very well with where I want Lernabit to go. The feedback from people using the site has given me new ideas and insight into what Lernabit can become, and I began to realize that the technology that was being used wouldn’t have been the best tool for the job.

After considering all of those facts, I decided it would be just as easy to rebuild the site completely rather than attempt to modify what I had. I also decided that the best thing to do from a business perspective would be to essentially take the site offline so I could focus on building the new site without worrying about maintaining the existing one.

What changes will there be?

As mentioned earlier, most of the changes will be technical improvements. But as long as I am rebuilding the site anyway, I will also use this as an opportunity to fix most of the problems people have mentioned, and a few I have noticed myself.

One improvement will be a much better login experience. The new site will remember your login status between visits rather than requiring you to login every time. Then you will only be prompted for a password when doing things like changing personal information.

You will also notice a cleaner and more modern design. Less text and more generous use of icons will make it easier to browse the page and find what you want. The new design will also make it easier to do things like interacting with the site without interrupting audio playback.

Another big change will involve the topics that are covered. Up to this point, Lernabit has been focused on science education. The new site will cover a wider range of topics.

Finally, the relaunch will include a native Android app. If my mission is to make education more accessible throughout your day, a better mobile experience is an absolute necessity. I haven’t decided if the mobile app will be available immediately when the site relaunches or if it will be ready shortly afterward, but such an app is in progress. As for iOS, there is not a native iOS app planned right now, although I would like to eventually have one built. In the meantime, the new site will work better on mobile devices. While not as good as a native app, the site will still work like a charm on whatever mobile device you want to use.

Lernabit is not shutting down

I want to emphasize that Lernabit is not shutting down. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Not only is the site not shutting down, it will be coming back stronger and better than before. Going offline is just a way to make that happen faster by letting me focus on building the new site.

Also, before I wrap up this post, I want to thank everyone who has been using Lernabit. I appreciate every single person who has tried it out, and I love hearing the feedback people have been providing. I do listen to it, and it is very helpful. So thank you. With such an awesome group of people using the site, I know that the next generation of Lernabit will be a powerful force to improve education around the world.

Aaron Wright,