A Social Learning Network You May Not Know About

As if Learnist and Lore weren’t enough to keep up with, there’s a third social network we wanted to highlight. Capella University’s digital learning environment ‘SOPHIA‘ is for 21st century teachers and students. It’s a “vibrant learning community that empowers students to learn in their own way, helps teachers to innovate, and provides an opportunity to achieve an affordable college degree.”

The site is quite well thought out and features easy-to-use search functions, filtering tools, and online learning supplements. Plus it has Bill Nye. Big fan. He’s part of their current promotion where you can enter to win a visit from the science guru himself.

Key Features Of SOPHIA

Badges!

  • There’s an interesting twist to SOPHIA though that you should know about. The social network lets you earn certifications for various 21st century classroom methods and modalities. For example, you can get certified in flipping classrooms. How cool is that?
  • You get a SOPHIA Score which is basically the Capella folks grading you on how well you contribute to the social network. Honestly, I’m not sure how much I love or hate this. Remains to be seen. Could be great for increasing engagement but I’d hate to feel like I’m doing something purely just to raise my digital grade.
  • You can take part in the free SOPHIA Pathways which are essentially guided lessons that help you accelerate your learning (whether you’re a teacher, student, or parent).
  • There are tutorials for a myriad of topics that are relevant to 21st century learners. From broad ideas like learning strategies to the more specific STEM … there’s a lot of useful tools and they’re all free and rated by users.
  • You can create learning playlists. Just like on your iPod, a playlist is your own library of tutorials. You can share your playlist with the community or just your group.
  • There are invite-only groups you can connect with others, share content, ask questions and get answers. Use it to coordinate a study group or help organize a class you teach. Once you’ve created your group, you can invite new members to join. You can also adopt any tutorial into your group to build a “bookshelf” of learning materials for the group to use throughout the learning process.
  • Use the tutorial editor to create your own learning material. Build it using a variety of multimedia: text, images, video, screen recordings, audio and slideshows. Once you’re ready, publish the tutorial privately to a group (your classmates, for example) or to the world (so that we all benefit).
  • With SOPHIA you can stay up-to-date with the activities of other learners and educators. Not only can you follow those individuals, but you can also follow their work. When you follow a tutorial or a question, you are informed about new activity related to those learning materials. All of these activities and notifications are captured on your SOPHIA Dashboard.

What It Looks Like

The SOPHIA Homepage

A look at the search results on SOPHIA

Takeaways

There’s a treasure trove of information housed in SOPHIA and you don’t even need to sign up to view most of it. For example, you can do a search for ‘how to learn‘ and get presented with a filterable list of hundreds of resources. From tutorials to questions and answers, there’s a ton of stuff to browse through.

I’m very impressed with the depth and breadth of the resources already available on SOPHIA. I also like the design and usability. It’s simple to navigate and understand what you’re supposed to do.

Don’t expect SOPHIA to overtake Edmodo or Facebook anytime soon. It’s a whole different animal that is highly useful for basically all students, teachers, and parents. If you’re a lifelong learner, it’s worth checking out.