Collaborative work

The question of how people can learn from each other is part of the larger question of how they work together - or, if one is less task-oriented, how they live and play and understand things collectively. This is obviously a very broad terrain, encompassing anything from management theory to theories of community development. In this section we hope to provide pointers to some of the more interesting material from such fields, especially where they seem to relate directly to collaborative learning.

Classic texts

Cognition in the wild by Edwin Hutchins (1995), critically reviewed here, in which he shows how cognition does not happen as representations in the heads of individual actors, but as coordinated action distributed across different actors.

Examples of collaborative work contexts


We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis (2003) is a book-length review of the demise of passive media audiences and the rise of radically distributed, interactive journalism involving not only professional journalists, but ordinary citizens. The book is available online or as a hard copy. "Participatory journalism is a bottom-up, emergent phenomenon in which there is little or no editorial oversight or formal journalistic workflow dictating the decisions of a staff. Instead, it is the result of many simultaneous, distributed conversations that either blossom or quickly atrophy in the Web's social network."

More examples to follow later.


Collaborative learning environments sourcebook

Links and portals
    Classic texts
    Journals and magazines