Generating learning through the crowd: The role of social media practices in supporting students as producers at scale

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Peter Bryant
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Wednesday 6 December, 11am – 11.30am
Stream 3
Room L206


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 in the UK. This was the lead initiative in an institution wide shift in pedagogical approach that was designed to transform the learning experiences of students through supporting students to be co-producers of knowledge. The Students as Producers project (SAP@LSE) was aligned to the School’s learning experiences curricular enhancement objectives, which sought to transform the student experience from primarily didactic to one that prepared the learner for the challenges of work and practice and engaged them in their own learning, through making. The LSE have been engaged in a number of projects that use crowdsourcing and citizenship as a catalyst for learning. The core principle behind these initiatives is that learning is a complex and agile process in the post-digital age and can be significantly enhanced through student led community learning, peer learning and informal learning. Wanting to engage our students more actively in the shaping of their study, their learning and their career, we designed a linked series of projects inform to varying degrees by social media practices. 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.

About the authors

Peter Bryant

Peter Bryant is the Head of Learning Technology and Innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He leads programmes and initiatives to transform the educational experience at the LSE through the innovative use of technology and digital pedagogies. His team recently won the Overall Gold Award for innovative pedagogy at the Wharton-QS Stars Reimagine Education awards. He was previously a Principal Lecturer in Educational Technology and Development at the University of Greenwich. Prior to this role, Peter had over twenty years’ experience as a lecturer, Director of Programmes, Head of Department and curriculum designer, working into two countries and teaching programmes from work based learning, marketing, media and management. Peter is the co-founder of the Future Happens initiative which uses innovative approaches to problem-solving and change management to engage the wider sector in debates around technology, pedagogy and the future of the University.