Generating learning through the crowd

The role of social media practices in supporting students as producers at scale


  • Peter Bryant



Constitution UK, social media learning, students as producers


Social media and higher education pedagogy have enjoyed a chequered relationship with significant debates about the efficacy of social media as a site of student centred learning, the manager/host of an individual’s learning trajectory and as a tool of facilitating collaborative learning at scale. This paper presents the findings from the evaluation of Constitution UK, an innovative civic engagement and open learning project run by the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK). This was the lead initiative in an institution-wide shift in pedagogical approach, designed to transform the learning experience through supporting students to be co-producers of knowledge. We argue that some of the behaviours inherent in social media learning (centred on fleeting connections, digital identity and discontinuous engagement) can create the conditions for effective learning through experience and practice, both at scale in open, online modes as well in the face-to-face delivery environment. Challenging the dominant pedagogical approaches of other massive online programmes, Constitution UK brought together a civil community of people engaging in the process of digital citizenship that produced a crowdsourced constitution for the United Kingdom. The learning design of the project successfully engineered both learning and problem solving at scale. The key aspects of the project arising from how social media can facilitate critical thinking, engagement, peer and crowd learning have informed pedagogical change within the mainstream provision of the School for initiatives such as Students as Producers, civic engagement over Brexit and games-based learning.






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