Cultivating slow, iterative, accretive, interlinked learning experiences


  • Slow long-lived iterative discussions/brainstorm that accrete… interlinking digital gardens, blog rings, postal chess?
  • [see also: book club formats / pattern language, interlinked blogging, etc.]


  • Ways of smaller granularity ping-pong of exchange, less overwhelming, but aggregates over time?
  • Slow discussions can be more generative…gives you more time to think!
  • One experiment on Hyperlink, blog chain experiment, building on each other’s ideas, slower discussion…
  • On blogs for example, feel like there’s greater ownership over the conversation space
  • Using a Google Sheet for sharing stuff, comments, etc. (awful interface, but changes the mode!)
  • Celine’s been playing around w/ Ponder, collaborative journaling app…writing for yourself and with others
  • Playing w/ prompts, nudges, etc., reminders that can lower friction to continued discussion, spread out…
  • E.g. Andy Matuschak’s spaced repetition stuff, used to “program time”…doing w/ social stuff too! Encoding rituals…
  • (NB: he’s working on a tool around that…could suggest communal stuff to him…but less interested? Contrast w/ Michael Nielsen who seems more interested in social science type collaborative stuff)
  • Readwise might enter the space w/ some social spaced repetition stuff…different from memory focus…
  • Push and pull: spaced repetition; also doing lots of retros…throw to the future; pull from the past…
  • Idea: really want to start public emails! Referenceable by anybody rather than siloed in your inbox

Select any text above and hit “quote” to riff on it directly, or continue this in any related direction!

Following up since we focused on this in the chat on Friday July 10th; see this Google Doc:

Question we focused on:

What are three possible models we could design for a slow, iterative, accumulative learning experience? What key elements of those experiences do we need to focus on?

( Related: how to maintain continuity / momentum for online learning, so it doesn’t fully recede to the background…peripheral vision for learning?)

Follow-up prompt if you’re so inclined!—

Post some short “post-it note” sized ideas for ways to apply some of the things we talked about / discovered in the readings (see the doc above)

Cross-posting this prompt to Twitter:

Summarizing a few ideas to start with:

Granular conversation
One thing I find interesting: encouraging more granular, lightweight sharing & conversation. To test this very thing here… “add an idea via tweet” seems a good mechanism; maybe summarized/aggregated later. Ponder is very interesting for this too.

Automated nudges
Another possibility: automated prompts or nudges Beyond a simple reminder, how could a learning system incorporate friendly, useful nudges? Andy Matuschak’s Orbit project is super interesting here! Spaced repetition not for info, but for social interactions

Balancing appropriate contexts
Certain contexts feel more or less lightweight; more or less conducive to continued momentum. Some conversations work well via interlinked blog post (feeling of ownership, longevity). Some work well via text message (low friction) What else? How to balance?

Prereqs: shared context; good energy
Important for all these, I think, is building good energy early on, clear expectations, a welcoming space / group. Situating learners in a common context; shared goals. If you have that, can overcome friction, build momentum slowly, iterate… (without it, who cares??)