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Together We’re Smarter: Tips for Using Digital Learning to Make the Most of Collective Intelligence

April 17, 2013

Whenever I speak at a conference I take the same approach – I look for ways to get people talking to one-another and contributing to the session. I figure; we’ve got a room full of smart, highly experienced pCollective Intelligenceeople – talking at them for an hour would be a huge waste of time. Better to make use of their knowledge and experience – their ‘collective intelligence’ – for the good of everyone.

We try to take the same approach with digital learning. Given how easy it is to connect to other people, wherever they are in the world, it seems like such a waste when online learning is a solitary experience. Allowing people to connect to one another and share knowledge makes the learning richer for all.

Every organisation has a huge amount of collective intelligence in it’s people, so how can you make use of it in your digital learning initiatives? Here are a few ideas:

  • Set short assignments and have learners comment upon and critique each others work. Not only will this provide useful feedback but it also prompts a valuable reflection process in the reviewer.
  • Allow learners to upload or add links to useful resources, web sites and videos. Include a like / unlike function so that the more useful resources can be identified and those less so, weeded out.
  • Identify organisational challenges for people to generate ideas around. These can be used to encourage innovation within an organisation and tackle real business problems.
  • If you use a Twitter-like service internally (Yammer for example) host regular chats that focus on different questions or issues. These could run over a lunchtime and be held once a week or a fortnight.

You will probably find that you already have IT systems in place that can do many, if not all of these things. Increasingly organisations are looking for ways for their workforce to collaborate more and they should be doing this in their learning too.




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