6 Companies Crowdsourcing Our Education

Whether we realize it or not, most of us help contribute to crowdsourced companies every day. It’s as simple as creating a profile on Twitter and sending a tweet, picture, or link; whatever the content, you have just successfully contributed to Twitter’s business. Youtube did nothing except provide the framework for other users to submit original videos and now it’s among the top 5 most popular websites in the world.

Now, companies like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Threadless, and 99Designs are allowing the crowd to provide the product and the money (99designs, a web company that hosts virtual competitions for designers to compete for contracts released this awesome infographic showing the impact of crowdsourcing).

Crowdsourced companies all have something in common: they have given control of the product and the result to you, the users. They’ve given us a chance to do something like this guy: Starting a Movement.

It’s not a new phenomenon, but crowdsourcing education has been making moves recently. New Education 2.0 sites are popping up all over the place and it seems like the education industry is finally starting to accept the migration to the web. Here are six examples of awesome online education sites that encourage you to be the teacher.

  • Course Hero

Google is a life-saver for a lot of things, but often times it’s not quite so helpful when searching for high quality learning content. That’s where Course Hero comes in. Course Hero lets students easily search through a vast database of academic documents, flashcards, and even fully online courses to help make education and studying easier – all created or uploaded by other students.

  • Sophia

Supported by Capella University, Sophia provides a service that reminds us of Udemy. Sophia lets users create lessons using all kinds of media to help other users learn. “Pathways” organize these lessons into units that resemble a college course. Other users, including Sophia staff, review and rate each lesson to ensure its educational value.

  • Duolingo

How did Wikipedia translate so many articles into different languages? The Wikipedia team asked you to do it for them. Same with Facebook. Now, Duolingo is giving you the chance to translate the web and learn a new language for free. Duolingo matches users with sentences from the web in the language they want to learn, but at their level of fluency, to be translated. While you translate, Duolingo’s system can help if you get stuck on a word — teaching you the language at the same time.

  • MentorMob

MentorMob takes a new approach to online learning in a way that is actually very simple. In this case, users don’t actually create the educational content. Instead, users help other users find the content by making “playlists” of websites, articles, videos, and other resources that are already on the web.


  • Lynda

Ok, so Lynda has been around for a while, but it’s more popular now than ever. Lynda has a vast selection of professionally made tutorial videos. The tutorials are created by experts in their fields, so you know that you’re learning the best stuff. Many universities throughout the country have also adopted Lynda’s academic platform that gives students free access to the videos. If you are an expert and you want to teach a course, all you have to do is reach out to the Lynda team.

  • Knowmia

You’ve heard of Khan Academy and other video-based educational services, and Knowmia adds an exciting new name to the bunch.  This brand-new startup boasts more than 7,000 video lessons with more showing up daily.  The videos come from real teachers all around the country, and are easily searchable from a large search bar at the top of the page.  Plus, Knowmia isn’t just about videos — they’ve already got a free iPad app for teachers and are working on web tools that will allow teachers to implement a flipped classroom and even share video lessons with other instructors.

It’s now easier than ever to start learning what you’ve always been interested in and never had the chance to explore. Take advantage of these tools and the others that we’ve talked about and dive right in. There’s no end to education!  You don’t have to be a student to learn, and you don’t have to be a teacher to teach.