Many companies, educators and students already use tools such as blogs, wikis, Google Docs, DimDim and other collaborative tools to co-create materials and learn collaboratively. However, these normally involve a small group of people that already know one another and are working together on a specific project.
Crowdsourcing takes group collaboration to the next level by allowing people to post certain ideas, initiate discussions and attract a larger amount of people (normally strangers) who will contribute to the idea, improving it with their own expertise. Websites such as Kluster, Innocentive, CambrianHouse, CrowdSpirit and IdeaBlob are a good example of what crowdsourcing is. One can say that Wikipedia, for instance is also a form of crowdsourcing knowledge.
In Education, websites such as Citizendium and Eduzendium, expert-moderated Wikipedia “clones”, the Encyclopedia of Life, a user-generated encyclopedia of life on Earth are all good examples of crowdsourcing knowledge in a more reliable manner.
In the meantime, I am still waiting to see more of this concept applied to learning, as we all become active “learners” literally “building” knowledge with the help of one another…