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More Ways to Learn with Trickle

Drips are just the beginning When you first begin learning with Trickle, the natural place to start is reading drips in streams that interest you. It’s tempting to focus on learning via drips because Trickle authors usually do such a great job of distilling the most important information into easily-digestible packages. But if you’re only reading drips, you’re not getting the most out of Trickle, and you’re also short-changing yourself when it comes to learning. We’d go so far as to discourage you from learning in this way. Sure, reading drips a great way to discover all kinds of new and exciting things. Unfortunately, you’ll probably forget most of what you learned. The problem is that reading drips is a bit too easy. Yes, you read that correctly. Because the author has boiled the topic down to its essential elements, reading drips can lead to a sense of easy understanding. Learning scientists refer to this as a feeling of fluency — it’s when you’re thinking, “yeah, I get this,” when in truth, you probably won’t remember much of it in a few hours.  Forgetting is the enemy of effective learning I don’t blame you if you’re feeling alarmed. Maybe you’re thinking: “What’s the point of all this learning if I’m going to forget it later?” Forgetting plays a vital role in how the human brain functions. We are exposed to an abundance of information and stimuli. We need to filter out what is important from the noise. Otherwise, we’d quickly become overwhelmed by unimportant details. The brain uses several rules for deciding what to keep in long-term storage, like the emotional salience of the experience, the effort to acquire the information, and how frequently it’s been repeated. The good news is that once we know these rules, we can use them to improve learning outcomes. We can do this by increasing repetition and introducing desirable difficulties (e.g. testing, spacing, variation), making the learning process more challenging, but the content more likely to be remembered.  The trick to enhancing learning and getting the most from Trickle is to use sources and actively create rather than passively absorb.  Use the sources!  You’ve almost certainly noticed that each drip has several sources attached. They are not there for decoration. The author has curated a list of great learning content for you to explore and deepen your knowledge. You’ll often find a TED talk, podcast, or article by one of the leading experts in the field. Engaging with sources is a great way to improve your retention of new knowledge. They usually present the concepts summarized in the drip from a different angle and often in more detail. By engaging with sources, you’re increasing repetition and increasing variation. You’ll end up diving deeper into the topic, thus increasing the effort you’ve put into learning. All this is likely to increase your ability to retain the new knowledge.  Don’t forget that you can save a source for later if you don’t have time to view it right away. Click the Save + button and you’ll find it at the top of your sources list on your My Trickle page. Actively create instead of passively absorbing The best strategies for effective learning are active strategies that involve actively thinking,  recalling information, organizing, and elaborating ideas. So it’s unfortunate that so many people rely so heavily on passive strategies like reading, highlighting, underlining, and memorizing. Trickle provides many ways to learn actively. You can begin by collecting great sources while doing independent research on the web. Organize the sources into key ideas and themes by putting them into streams. Formulate the key insights into your own words by summarizing them into drips. Share the streams with your friends and determine the best ways to communicate those ideas. Teaching is one the most powerful ways to reinforce learning, so consider publishing your stream to the community. The goal here is to go beyond passive learning strategies and achieve deeper learning through analysis, application, and creation. There’s more to come from Trickle We’re always improving the ways that Trickle supports lifelong learners in their quest to acquire and retain knowledge and skills. Major feature improvements we are working on include testing and spaced repetition. There is ample evidence that these learning strategies are among the most effective, so we want to make them available to our users very soon.

Phil von Heydebreck
20 Aug 2020

Consider going premium (even if you don’t use Trickle regularly?!)

Note: This article is about Trickle Premium. We are currently transitioning to a Freemium model that will enable us to make Trickle a self-sustaining lifelong learning platform. It will take us a few days to enable payments — until then everyone gets the benefits of a Premium subscription. If you’ve arrived at this page it’s probably because you are asking yourself one the following questions: What is the difference between a premium subscription and a free account?Why pay for Trickle when you can just use it for free?Are the current Trickle features convincing enough for you to put money on the table? Trickle will always have a free version Trickle has a free option by design. It can be used indefinitely and offers a similar learning experience to a premium account. Trickle’s mission is to make lifelong learning effortless and accessible for as many people as possible. A person’s financial situation should not keep them from using Trickle. On the contrary, we think Trickle can be part of the solution. Lifelong learning has the power to enable personal growth and financial freedom. So we’re working hard to make Trickle one of the key components in everyone’s lifelong learning toolbox. Premium is an investment in yourself and in Trickle So what makes Trickle Premium better than the free version? This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not necessarily the additional drips and features that you’ll get when you subscribe.  Here’s what makes premium worth the money:  Skin in the game will increase your commitment to learningYou’ll be supporting a sustainable business model for lifelong learning that focuses on you as the customer (not advertisers) We designed Trickle to help you be a self-directed lifelong learner. But your success depends entirely on your commitment to making learning a daily habit. If you do succeed, learning becomes effortless and you can learn anything. Subscribing to Trickle Premium is a commitment to lifelong learning. Having skin in the game will increase the likelihood that you will succeed in building a learning habit.  In the early days of the internet, people expected things to be free. But we’ve since learned that “free” often comes at a cost. The drive to provide free products led many companies to develop business models that are ad-funded, based on monetizing user data, or both. These business models lead to distorted incentive structures because users are no longer the customers — they become the product. Paying for a product or service creates a win-win situation for users and for the companies that serve them — it keeps everyone’s incentives aligned.  At Trickle, we want to have the foremost commitment to serving you as our customer. We believe that the field of learning requires an elevated level of trust that makes ad-funded models inappropriate. We need your support to grow and improve Trickle in the long run, so we can keep Trickle ad-free and focused on creating the best possible learning experience for you. Did we mention that you set your own price? When signing up for Trickle Premium you set the amount you want to pay. The convenient slider in our premium checkout allows you not only to set your own price, but you’ll also get a sense of how much of an impact your contribution is going to have. No matter which price you chose, you will become a premium member. Your contribution level has some impact on your available features, but it makes a much bigger difference behind the scenes.  Premium subscriptions can be changed or cancelled anytime. Any changes will be applied to the next monthly payment. All premium subscribers get access to five drips per day, while free members are limited to two. Contributions above €3 per month help keep Trickle ad-free.Contributions above €6 support our authors in the creation of new learning content.Premium subscribers paying more than €8 get unlimited storage in “My Trickle”. Users below this contribution level can add up to 100 streams and 1000 sources per year to their account. Contributions of at least €9 per month support the long-term development of Trickle and help us pursue our mission of making lifelong learning effortless.  With any contribution, you’re helping us keep the servers switched on. At higher levels, you’re supporting the growth of Trickle into the platform that we envision, including supporting our authors. We hope this model enables anyone to make a contribution that suits their personal financial means to the platform and to the community.  Support our mission to make lifelong learning effortless You’ve arrived at Trickle in a very crucial time: early! Trickle is still young and vulnerable. Your actions are going to have a big influence on how Trickle develops. We started Trickle with the vision of making lifelong learning effortless. We’re convinced that Trickle can be a powerful tool that leverages the wealth of available knowledge in the digital age and helps you adapt to the challenges of an ever-changing world. Trickle will continue to develop and we know it’s still rough around the edges. We’ve got so many things we want to improve. We also have a clear vision for how Trickle evolves into an amazing product that makes lifelong learning effortless. The Trickle you see in 2020 is our first release after exiting our beta phase — it’s really just the beginning.  We suggest that you consider a premium membership, even if you think Trickle is still missing some key features or is difficult to use. Think of Trickle as an investment in yourself, the learning community, and in the pursuit of a system for lifelong learning that works. Trickle is bootstrapped, which means the founders have paid for its development out of our own pockets. We’ve avoided taking outside funding to maintain the purity of our mission. If you believe that we are onto something and if you want us to succeed, then consider supporting us right now by becoming a premium user. It’s an important time for Trickle. Your commitment to us at this stage will have a significant impact on our ability to succeed. Are you ready to dive in and begin your lifelong learning journey?

Achim Rothe
03 Jul 2020

Why drips are limited

There are several reasons why we limit drips, but the most important — by far — is to improve your learning success. Drip limits will also provide the mechanism for rewarding drip authors for their contributions to the Trickle lifelong learning community and to create a sustainable economic engine for the Trickle platform. We limit drips to improve your learning experience Learning is like food: larger portions do not necessarily lead to a better outcome or experience. It is our mission to build the best possible system for lifelong learning. Our primary metric for success is the learning outcome of our users. We've only done a good job if you can successfully use Trickle to acquire new knowledge and skills. Learning requires focus. But our current environment is replete with distractions. Competing media outlets vie for our attention inviting us to binge on content, scroll just a little further, swipe one more time, or click on one more link. It's like trying to drink from a firehose. Focus is hard to achieve when everybody is competing for your attention. Trickle is designed for your long-term success. We leverage the concept of microlearning transporting knowledge in short drips that can be easily consumed in breaks throughout the day. Drips are concise explanations of a single idea or concept. These easily digestible units of microlearning content are the foundation of Trickle. Drips set a steady pace for learning, like the rhythm of a drum that sets the tempo for your lifelong learning dance. As long as you read a few drips per day, you can be sure to make amazing progress over time. If you consume too many drips, you risk treating a subject superficially. You risk to skim over important insights and are likely to forget them quickly before you've had the chance to internalize them. Time plays also an important role in memory. The less time you spent on a subject the less capacity you may have later to recall this memory. Repetition also plays a critical role and that's where sources come in. Sources are essential to learning with Trickle and are attached to every drip providing you with the opportunity to dive deeper into a subject. Sources are links to great learning content in the form of articles, videos, podcasts, books, or websites. Virtually anything with an internet address can be a Trickle source if it helps people learn. We designed Trickle in a way that all drips look similar, so you can easily find your way into any subject. But visiting sources will trigger very different experiences, some are videos, some are audio, each page has a different design. This variation helps make an idea stick. So give us the benefit of the doubt and try it out. Read your drips and return to the content in a steady cadence. You'll see what we mean. Now let's cover the secondary aspects of why we limit drips. We limit drips to be able to give back to content creators In addition to being a place for learning, Trickle is a platform for you to share your knowledge. And we believe that everyone should be rewarded for sharing good quality insights. We envision a system in which users publishing good quality content receive micropayments for every drip read by a premium user. Great insights are invaluable, so we want to set up incentives that encourages our users to create high-quality drips and keep them up to date as our collective knowledge evolves. We believe that this will help knowledge spread and make it more accessible to everyone. By limiting the number of drips, the system encourages drip authors to deliver great value with every drip. We limit drips to reward users that support our platform financially Just like any organization, Trickle needs an economic engine to support the platform. The economic engine is what provides the funds that keep the lights on and the servers humming. That is the rationale for our Freemium model. The free-tier helps make lifelong learning available for everyone, no matter their financial means. While the premium-tier collects a contribution to keeping Trickle running from users willing to pay for additional features and content. Free users are limited to two drips per day, while premium users can access five. Naturally, we will collect feedback from users and test our assumptions. This might lead to adjustments to the economic engine over time. For the time being, we are confident that this is the right direction for Trickle and its users.

Achim Rothe
02 Jul 2020

Publishing criteria for Trickle learning content

Our mission at Trickle is to make lifelong learning effortless. That mission has a profound influence on the type of content we welcome on the platform. The primary purpose of any content on Trickle must be to enable learning. While that narrows down the range of content on Trickle a little, the potential scope remains immense. Collectively, lifelong learners have an immense range of interests. And there are many different ways to present information to facilitate learning. So authors have significant freedom in how they present their material. However, it should be clear that their intent is to explain ideas and concepts rather than to sell, advertise, or promote a product or service.  Here’s what we think characterizes great learning content on Trickle: Simple: Written in everyday language so that someone who is not an expert in the topic can easily understand it. Any jargon or specialized terms should be explained.Concise: Because drips are short, it’s critical to filter out the noise to focus on the essential.Memorable: Presents thought-provoking ideas in ways that facilitate the retention of new knowledge. Well-researched: Based on quality research that seeks to uncover the truth. That generally means using multiple credible sources. Balanced: Consider multiple points of view, not just the opinion of one expert. Each drip should rely on multiple sources. Authors should embrace controversy if it exists. Linked: Key facts, statistics, and quotes should be linked to external sources. Quotes should have accurate attributions, when possible to the primary source. We are building Trickle to be a platform where people can showcase their expertise and make a name for themselves. However, it’s important that authors disclose potential conflicts of interest. Readers should know, or example, if you are being paid to promote something or have a financial interest in its success.  There are certain types of content we won’t tolerate on Trickle. Content that does any of the following will be removed.  Promotes hate or violence Engages in harassment or the violation of someone’s rights (e.g. privacy, copyright, trademarks)Promotes dangerous pseudo-scientific ideas or unfounded conspiracy theoriesMakes misleading or false claims or is otherwise deceptivePublishes content whose main purpose is to sell, advertise, promote, drive traffic, generate backlinks, etc.Is annoying and spammy Please flag inappropriate or offensive content to support@trickle.app. 

Phil von Heydebreck
18 Jun 2020