Editor's Note: Loop & Learn has been replaced with "Learn Anything."
Those with a quest for knowledge requiring a unique approach to studying may want to take a look at a unique application for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad called Loop & Learn. Using a learning technique called "spiral learning," Loop & Learn makes use of the auditory/visual learning connection by incorporating text, audio and picture images together into small tidbits of information to be digested one segment at a time. Similar to creating a picture book that is read aloud to small children learning the alphabet, numbers, or farm animals, Loop & Learn provides a way for users to create and share their own "learning loops."
Loop & Learn could easily be used to create study material for language learning, vocabulary, anatomy, bartending, music, US Presidents, pokemon, and pretty much anything else that you'd like to memorize. While it's uniqueness is touted as the "educational app that doesn't sell you content, but let's you create the content," Loop & Learn has potential as an educational tool.
Loop & Learn is not intuitive on its own, but thankfully comes preloaded with a fairly straightforward explanation of how to use and create learning loops. There is also a Loop Library where you can access learning loops created and shared by other Loop & Learn users. The loops are easily organized by tags, titles, and categories and can be searched using keywords. Presently, there are a handful of user-created loops available in the Loop Library.
The actual creation of a learning loop is simple enough, but the creation of a useful loop takes some considerable time and effort. It involves entering or copying and pasting the relevent text, searching for, saving and uploading relevent pictures, and then recording the necessary audio to accompany each segment. If, let's say, you were to create a learning loop of states and capitals, the text would be easy enough, but you would need to invest a significant amount of time locating and saving images or creating your own with your device's camera. You are also limited to the number of segments you can use, so organizing the information into the allocated segments could be challenging.
Loop & Learn has definite potential, but users who want to learn rather than share will have to rely on the creation of other users or invest their time in creating their own learning loop (after which I'd be willing to bet you'd have learned the material anyway). Presently, there are a couple of very well-done loops in the library, including one for learning 10 famous paintings. As such, access to the Learning Loop Library is intriguing, but doesn't yet warrant the price of the full version. However, in time, Loop & Learn could grow into an amazing tool for educators, students, and self-learners alike.
Loop & Learn gets points for supporting the concept of global learning and for being a wholly unique educational tool, but is strictly for those with a desire to not only acquire knowledge, but share it as well. Curious learners can certainly try the free version, Loop & Learn Lite, to explore the app with no risk, but the free version only allows one loop to be stored on your device at a time.