Sunday, May 10, 2009

CrowdSourcing Higher Education: The Sturgeon's Law Impasse

One of the major reasons that educators are resistant to opening up education so that many people can participate in the creation of learning experiences is the worry that most of the material created will be badly done.

It is not that educators see their own work as perfect, but they remain skeptical that "committed amateur educators" would produce high quality learning experiences. This concern, sometimes called Sturgeon's Law or Revelation, holds that 90% of the material created by individuals is very low quality and at best 10% of the material will be useful and of high quality. Based on this idea, most educators are not willing to risk trying to find the 10% of valuable material in the face of the 90% of worthless material. They are also concerned that the worthless material will damage the the reputation of their good material.

In designing in open education system that allows for many people to develop content and learning experiences, this issue will have to be faced and a system designed to deal with this problem.

Is there a model that would change educators' views on this issue? Are their tools that would provide an easy way to sift through the material to find the 10%?

1 comment:

Shapiro said...

I have been working on the design and organization of an open learning web, similar to that proposed in 1970 by Ivan Illich. In that process, I have been developing ideas for how to be some "quality control" into the design of educational experiences. Let me know if you are interested.

Matthew Shapiro