CITE Open Conference Systems, Engaging Learning & Empowering Change

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Crowdsourcing for digital learning
Christopher See, Stephanie Tsz Hei Lau, Julia Sun, Kitty Wai Ying Choi, William Chi Wai Wong

Last modified: 2018-04-18


One way of engaging a learning community in the creation and evolution of its own e-learning resources is through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing refers to a problem-solving approach that taps into the knowledge and creativity of groups rather than individuals (Estelles & Gonzales 2012). The ‘crowd’ could be community members, students or educators. They become the ‘source’ of information and inspiration by being asked for contributions to solve a problem. Contributions can be large or small and in any number of forms including suggestions, photographs, artwork, quotes etc. Digital platforms such as social media allow micro-contributions of dozens or hundreds of participants.


Qualitative analysis of these data can lead to pedagogical innovations or adaptations. For e-learning design, input can also inform style, characters/avatars, subject matter, emphasis, and use of community vocabulary (slang) which may aid an e-learning tool to better articulate with its intended audience.


This workshop will show in practice how ideas can be crowdsourced digitally and analysed to generate solutions. The presenters will demonstrate a range of crowdsourced projects from their own areas of expertise, including STEM education, sexual health education and an HKU Common Core Course (Humanities division).


The second part of the demonstration is a hands-on exercise in which participants solve real problems in small groups by crowdsourcing material using a digital platform.


This workshop is particularly aligned with the sub-theme of technology and social change, as it increases ownership and engagement by students or the community through their own contributions. The presenters include a local NGO worker who would add an extra dimension to the academic perspectives of teacher-and-student, showing the potential of digital crowdsourcing to be a societal change-maker.


Intended audience


  • University teachers who would like to incorporate student-driven content and creativity into their digital teaching programmes.
  • Academics and technology innovators seeking to solve problems using widespread input rather than narrow expert opinion.

Estellés-Arolas, E., & González-Ladrón-De-Guevara, F. (2012). Towards an Integrated Crowdsourcing Definition. Journal of Information science, 38(2), 189-200.