‘This core aspect of education in the new culture of learning presents a model for understanding learning in the face of rapid change. Teachers no longer need to scramble to provide the latest up-to-date information to students because the students themselves are taking an active role in helping to create and mold it, particularly in areas of social information.
We call this environment a collective. As the name implies, it is a collection of people, skills, and talent that produces a result greater than the sum of its parts. For our purposes, collectives are not solely defined by shared intention, action, or purpose (though those elements may exist and often do). Rather, they are defined by an active engagement with the process of learning.
A collective is very different from an ordinary community. Where communities can be passive (though not all of them are by any means), collectives cannot. In communities, people learn in order to belong. In a collective, people belong in order to learn. Communities derive their strength from creating a sense of belonging, while collectives derive theirs from participation.
In the new culture of learning, collectives, as we define them, become the medium in which participation takes shape. They are content-neutral platforms, waiting to be filled with interactions among participants. As such, they are well designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, their raison d’etre. And once they can no longer do so, their demise is similarly well designed. Since there are no bricks-and-mortar investment costs associated with their creation, collectives can simply cease to exist.’