Making Learning Online Free and Accessible to the World at MentorMob

November 22, 2011

1:30 pm

Fresh from its official public launch, MentorMob has declared that the “race to disrupt education is on.”

Organization in online learning is the goal.  With the abundance of quality and free material on the web today, the team at this startup aims to bring cohesion to this valuable, yet currently disorganized, information.

MentorMob is a collaborative education platform that “untangles” instructional content currently on the web by presenting it in a complete, yet easily editable, way.

It’s also a source for diverse learning.  MentorMob is for the individual user looking to learn a new skill (poker, snowboarding, dog training anyone?), those looking to share their knowledge of a subject with others, or for organizations that need to pull together curriculum or training.

How does MentorMob plan to accomplish this goal of reorganization?

The Chicago-based team, led by Kris Chinosorn, aka Chief Executive “Mobster” (as he cites in the company-produced video below), is taking a completely different approach than traditional online learning companies or existing instructional design tools. While MentorMob is at its core a learning management system like its counterparts, MentorMob is more than a tool for those designing instruction.

MentorMob acknowledges that when you want or need to learn a new skill or investigate a new hobby, Google is a tough place to start:

We know there is great, free content out there that we could use to learn just about anything, but we also know for every great article or video on the world wide web there are 100,000 terrible ones to beat it to the top of the search engine results page.

MentorMob allows Internet surfers to organize any type of online content into a step-by-step Learning Playlist.

MentorMob differentiates itself by injecting the social element into online learning through what it calls the ‘Learning Playlist.’ As a user, you can browse the growing lists of playlists and learn from the ‘mob,’ or you can create your own.

Creating a Learning Playlist is as easy tagging content and pasting links from videos, articles, or any web-based material. You certainly don’t need to create modules from scratch, and through the wonders of jQuery you can rearrange and insert additional content to your heart’s content.

If there’s a topic to be added, you can do so Wikipedia style, and you can edit another user’s playlist. A ratings system on the site allows users to gauge the playlist’s quality based on other user’s experiences.

Potential business customers – do not fear. Someone will not come in and mess with your company’s training manual. As part of its revenue model, MentorMob offers private Learning Playlists (another revenue source comes from advertising on the site.) And just like at Wikipedia, the plan is that for individuals’ playlists, the community will conduct quality control to keep the trolls at bay.

MentorMob is still in alpha, and it’s clear from the company’s blog that this team has been working tirelessly to get the site in shape for launch. It’s also clear they’re committed to creating a learning community.  Instead of a traditional ‘About Us’ section on the MentorMob site, each team member’s photo is linked to a curated list of playlists. Take a look at the staff’s video, and you get a good sense of the sentiment and commitment to lifelong learning that’s behind this company.

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Marla Shaivitz is a writer, developer and digital marketer. She's interested in innovations & innovators in technology and those working toward social good. Follow Marla on Twitter at @marlashaivitz.

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