Collective Intelligence

What is Collective Intelligence?


Collective intelligence is a term for the knowledge embedded within societies or large groups of individuals. It can be explicit, in the form of knowledge gathered and recorded by many people (for example, the Wikipedia is the result of collective intelligence); but perhaps more interesting, and more powerful, is the tacit intelligence that results from the data generated by the activities of many people over time. Discovering and harnessing the intelligence in such data — revealed through analyses of patterns, correlations, and flows — is enabling ever more accurate predictions about people’s preferences and behaviors, and helping researchers and everyday users understand and map relationships, and gauge the relative significance of ideas and events.

Two new forms of information stores are being created in real time by thousands of people in the course of their daily activities, some explicitly collaborating to create collective knowledge stores like the Wikipedia and Freebase, some contributing implicitly through the patterns of their choices and actions. The data in these new information stores has come to be called collective intelligence, and both forms have already proven to be compelling applications of the network. Explicit knowledge stores refine knowledge through the contributions of thousands of authors; implicit stores allow the discovery of entirely new knowledge by capturing trillions of key clicks and decisions as people use the network in the course of their everyday lives.


ALT-C Next Steps:

Please capture the discussion of your groups around this question in the space below:

How can we maximise the ability of Higher and Further Education institutions and their learning technology innovators to take advantage of this emerging technology and its applications?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

  • Begin. Collate cross-disciplinary examples of effective and ineffective approaches to developing tools and processes that rely upon CI, collective intelligence, as distinct from possibly-related areas such as "new scholarship" that may be needed to develop and appraise innovatory forms of collective intelligence.
  • Build on this. Annotate the cross-disciplinary examples so that they can be useful to people interested in becoming collectively smarter. Invest in documenting, making explicit and sharing the insights and processes developed and used by the most outstanding teams, individuals and knowledge networks.
  • Impact. Promote the take-up of CI tools and evaluate the results for society and for universities. Develop measures of CI and its impact (on all relevant dimensions, eg social responsibility, IPR). Include those measures in the annual review of researchers and teams, to show how they are using CI and how their impact has increased.
- guest (129.11.63.79) guest (129.11.63.79) Sep 5, 2011



Work of the Advisory Board previous to Sept


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • it might be useful in social science research but it would concern me if popularist majority views replaced peer review or scientific proof - chris.cobb chris.cobb May 17, 2011
  • Collective intelligence approaches become useful as learning tools rather than reference tools. As in, there is real value in supporting students to build their own resources of use to others as part of the learning process. This ties in evidently with the very popular ideas of 'knowledge building' schools, with inquiry and research based learning. It seems like a no-brainer in the value it offers as a pedagogic device. The other opportunity is in relation to diversity. The original idea of collective intelligence was to recognise that 'no one knows everything, everyone knows something'. There is real potential in using collective knowledge building resources as a way of valuing precisely that, of supporting students and others to share their own unique experiences and ideas and in building a rich picture of student experience from that. - keri.facer keri.facer May 18, 2011
  • The other issues, relating to tacit knowledge built up from tracking millions of micro interactions, relate to the issues on data analytics and visualisation, and most comments are there - keri.facer keri.facer May 18, 2011
  • another response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • your response here
  • another response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research or information management within the next five years?

  • your response here
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Have a look at how the Herriot Watt wholly online course in Online Teaching and Learning uses collective knowledge building tools as part of its pedagogy. It's impressive, simple to implement and powerful. Keith Smyth leads this - keri.facer keri.facer May 18, 2011

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.