Collective learning

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This post provides definitions and examples of Collective Learning.

Collective Learning can refer to different concepts:

  • It is sometimes used as a global term for everything that is cooperative, collaborative, etc.
  • It can refer to teaching strategies that feature collective intelligence, i.e. some sorts of sharing activities like often happens in project-oriented learning designs where teams work on their own project but sometimes must engage in exchange activities.
  • It can refer to situations where a collective (i.e. several individuals) go through a simultaneous transformation.

Collective learning is a type of learning that happens “in the real world.”

There are instances of teaching and learning in universities using real world datasets. There are also examples of blurring the boundaries between education and work through large-scale, authentic tasks involving learner groups in teams with employees in the workplace.

Crowdsourcing is another popular type that you may not consider “learning,” but large companies like Amazon, Boeing, IBM, P&G and Merck have crowdsourced ideas to foster innovation. Some ideas come through proprietary channels and networks such as licensing, outsourcing, and joint ventures, but a large part come through open and nebulous social networks.

IBM introduced InnovationJams in 2006 by inviting employees from more than 160 countries, along with clients, business partners, and family members to join in a massive brainstorming session. Two 72-hour sessions allowed IBM to engage over 100,000 participants in a series of moderated online discussions. Their combined insights created breakthrough innovations for industry, health and the environment.

Collective learning takes place when those involved share in the input, share in the creation of new knowledge, and are educated throughout, start to finish.