I have an idea. It’s just an idea at the moment and it might be completely ridiculous. In fact, the more I write it down, the more it sounds like it won’t work. However, after reading this post from @stef from Makeshift who quotes Linus Pauling, I’ve decided to put it out there anyway. 


This idea has been inspired from a range of different sources. I recently attended the West London Education Question Time event chaired by TV presenter Adrian Chiles, where the panel of children’s author Michael Rosen, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower and Ealing Council leader Julian Bell, discussed a range of local as well as national educational issues. Much was discussed and debated but one point in particular resonated with me. Michael Rosen called for the need to have a more democratic education system where children, parents, teachers and members of the community make choices about education systems rather than one person in government. Now, I would argue whether any organisation, independent or not, would bring true democracy to education but that’s for another post. 

Additionally, this Tedx video from Logan LaPlante on ‘HackSchooling’, which has received over 4 million views, has added to the development of my idea. LaPlante talks about being empowered to choose his own learning pathways and initiating his own discoveries. 

Then, I attended a seminar at #Bett2014 where the 22-year-old iSchools CEO Travis Allen discussed (amongst other things!) how learners could take control of their learning using a range of technology.

All of this combined has got me thinking. 

Crowdsourced Learning

So, the idea. Not a ‘new’ one but an idea nevertheless. The basics of the idea surrounds providing ‘a space for learning for all’. Creating a space where individuals of all ages can go to learn and discover new knowledge, new skills and new passions from each other. A space where all are ‘students’ and all are ‘teachers’. A space where there is no ‘curriculum’, no defined agenda. Learners would suggest learning pathways for sessions or simply suggest an area that they would like to know more about (perhaps in an online forum/meeting space). Others would then ‘sign up’ and offer their knowledge on that area and then suggest something that they would like to learn about. Learners could then meet each other in ‘the space’ to collaborate on projects or could use the resources provided in ‘the space’ to independently navigate through pathways on their own. 

In lots of ways this idea links to the idea of open source learning where individuals use the Internet to manage their own learning experiences and create and share resources. In many ways it could be unnecessary to setup a space like this when the Internet could enable people to do this on their own. However, this would be a community of face-to-face learners with one goal: to learn something new. While an online space would be an important part of the community, it could also restrict the breadth of learning that could be explored. 

Having just moved to London, I wonder round and can’t help but think that there must be so many inspiring things going on, so many interesting skills that people are developing, so much knowledge that people have to share. It also offers some fantastic places to visit, explore and investigate. I keep imagining how much the thousands of people I walk past could learn from each other. To be able to tap into that would be a fantastic educational experience. 

I keep wondering if this has already been done. Is this ‘crowdsourced learning space’ that I am suggesting already on offer? Would people give up their time to share their skills with others? Would anyone actually turn up?! I have no idea. Perhaps I haven’t researched or thought thoroughly enough. Either way, it’s got me thinking and that can’t be a bad thing. 

I’d really appreciate any feedback you have about this idea. All thoughts, comments and criticisms welcome!

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