Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crowdsourcing your eLearning - Is it possible?

This is the beginning of a huge paradigm shift for the Instructional Design community.  Actually the shift started a few years ago but as I see it today we are finally seeing this as more than the next elearning fad.  What is "this"?  What is "it"?
"It" is the reality that technology is turning everyone into experts and more importantly it is allowing all of the experts (everyone) to share their knowledge in a format that easily discoverable by anybody with a web connection.  This means that in most cases knowledge, ideas, thoughts go from one person directly to the next.  There is no need for a middle man.  There is no need for knowledge brokers (instructional designers).  Our job used to be pulling information out of SMEs and then "designing" that information into content that WE think is best for those that need to consume it.  Not so much anymore.

So is it possible that we can use crowdsourcing to our advantage?  Can we add value to crowdsourced content with sound instructional design?

One of the keynotes for Annual Gathering 09 is Jeff Howe the author of Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business.  The Blog in support of the book has a bunch of examples of crowdsourcing in action and other information. 

Jeff is obviously NOT an instructional designer however every business and field of study that uses Internet technologies is impacted by this phenomenon.  That includes the eLearning community.  You probably already crowdsource much of what you do by participating in social networks, and online forums, and professional organizations like The eLearning Guild

How do you see crowdsourcing impacting your job?  Good or bad? 
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