Collaborative Book Writing and Learning

Over the weekend I heard an interesting story on NPR about the future of the book industry called Book It.Host Brooke Gladstone spoke with various guests about the changes occurring in the book industry including the growth of self-publishing and e-books. One section of the interview was with Bob Stein of The Institute for the Future of the Book who spoke about “books 2.0” and how the future of books will be a collaborative process between authors and readers. It sounded far-fetched at first, but as he described the process, I was intrigued.

The discussion about books 2.0 had me thinking about the learning industry and how technology has changed and will continue to change the industry. Many of the ideas that Bob Stein discussed can be applied to the learning industry, for example, readers influencing books by collaborating with authors as they write books. This sounds like learners contributing to learning programs by participating in interactive learning experiences such as wikis and web conferences. “Learning 2.0” has come about as a result of technology that allows for more interactive and collaborative learning experiences and it’s good news for adult learners. Adults learn best when they are engaged and contributing to the learning experience. The pace of change in the learning industry has definitely picked up and I predict that adult learners will continue to benefit from new learning tools and techniques that focus on collaborative learning.


  1. Established learning methods are flawed, in that education is reliant and based on a combination of empirical evidence and rhetoric, until we are confident and courageous enough to go a little bit further on our own and push the boundaries to the point when we experience that "aha so the world is not flat" moment and learn something 'new' When children still learn in school using the 1 x 2 is 2 and 2 x2s are 4 methods, it will be a long time before they are courageous enough to push their own boundaries (if indeed many of them ever will), as they are being limited by the safety of the crowd restricting their evolution from learners to researchers. The Web by contrast, enables those creative enquiring minds to seek out others like them and through collaboration, start to push boundaries. At Zazew we are providing the tools for writers of both fiction and non fiction to crowd source ideas and collaborate on their development. For the student engaging in boundary pushing research, it enables them to test their theories on others and seek critique, encouragement and rationalisation for their theories. For the first time, the Web means that students can engage in pushing and creating new horizons and not having to wait until their mentors say to them, “Matthew son, you have painted enough fences”

  2. I can see how it'd be useful for authors to have an interactive web conferencing experience with readers. I use RHUB ( to train out of state employees on new software, and they're able to ask questions. So it's kind of like what you're talking about.

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