StudyBlue, a free online service that enables students to create and store digital “flashcards” to help them master course material, has announced new functionality that allows users to share and compare their online notes with those of their peers.

In a little more than a year, students have created more than 40 million online perspectives about everything from the Pythagorean theorem to Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” “Nearly 2 million more are added each week,” said Becky Splitt, CEO of StudyBlue. “This new functionality allows students to connect with each other around shared explanations in a way that takes learning to a whole new level.”

As students create online flashcards on StudyBlue, they are presented with the 30 other most relevant flashcards on the topic. They can then create a new flashcard; review, study, or add to an existing card; or view other associated material. The cards are ranked by usefulness and mapped to related terms that other students are studying.

The new functionality allows students to compare their understanding of a topic with that of their peers, bringing many of the benefits of group study sessions to online users. “We think the best way to improve education is to help students help each other,” said Splitt. “The act of comparing each other’s explanations is like an instant study session with a group of talented students. We believe we’ve laid the foundation for an entirely new way to study.”

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Jeff Festa