Crowdsourcing the Future of Learning
New media tools such as social networking, blogging and video sharing sites have transformed our daily information landscape into a crowdsourced media space. As information environment becomes more participatory, educators are urged to rethink how learners get the learning resources they need, from whom and through what means. For self-directed learners, valuable learning resources are no longer confined to those provided by schools, but can be found in peer-generated and crowdsourced materials.
In Crowdsourcing the Curriculum: Redefining E-Learning Practices through Peer-Generated Approaches, Drew Paulin and Caroline Haythornthwaite examined potential areas of online learning practices for crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing refers to the practice of outsourcing working tasks that are traditionally assigned to specific people (e.g. educators) to various networks of people (e.g. online learners). Using MOOCs as examples, they found that curriculum content, discussions, assessment, feedback and learning analytics can benefit from crowdsourcing. For instance, learners can get relevant learning materials or feedback on their course projects from peers (the crowd) in the massive online courses, not only from those few course instructors and facilitators. Learning analytics generated from MOOCs is another form of crowdsourcing, as these valuable analytical insights are based on learning behaviors and feedback from the huge crowd of online learners.
From this perspective, our open education platform Rhizr serves well as a crowdsourcing learning platform for the future of education. On Rhizr, learners are encouraged to create, curate, remix and share their learning resources and projects. Self-directed learners can explore crowd curated learning materials on topics of their interests, and create learning portfolios to gather feedback from online learner communities.