Learning by Sharing
How global communities cultivate skills and capacity through peer-production of knowledge
Wikipedia is not merely an encyclopedia. It is the result of unprecedented collaborative learning on a global scale. Wikipedia aptly demonstrates that knowledge can be acquired through various means and that it flourishes via an open, social-media driven web. More and more individuals are compelled to showcase their expertise. This fluid body of information is powerful because it is durable, flexible and globally accessible for all as a “knowledge commons”.
Open sharing of knowledge and ideas revolutionizes the way in which global communities cooperate and learn. Learning can be organized in peer production based on open licensing and a decentralized, collaborative and non-proprietary process of global knowledge co-creation. This joint learning propels transformation processes and capacity development across borders.
Global knowledge peer production and open innovation allows for exactly the scaling up of technical and social innovations that is currently much debated and needed in the international development cooperation world. It also allows striking a balance between respecting the intellectual property of corporations and institutions and giving communities access to advanced knowledge, in a bid to create fair and just conditions for everyone.
The vision is a self-organized and connected peer-to-peer learning for sustainable human development worldwide, turning learning by sharing into a game changer in development cooperation.
Find Hubs for Commons-Based Peer-Production
>> Here you can find a list of platforms with a focus on 'production', on 'peer-driven production' and on 'commons-based initiatives'.
Find a curated list of further readings
>> Here you find a curated list of further readings based on the references in the article, but including additional readings and updated links.
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About the Author
Balthas Seibold is a senior project manager for ‚Global Knowledge Sharing & Learning’ at GIZ, the ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH’. He focuses on open knowledge cooperation to foster the freedom to learn and innovate in developing countries. Balthas has a special interest in the knowledge commons and social networks and their potential to build human capacities, link up people and foster open learning worldwide. Before 2012 he led capacity building programs with GIZ that promote the open source IT-sector in Asia and Africa such as ict@innovation. Balthas has also worked at InWEnt – Capacity Building International, UNESCO’s bureau of strategic planning, the GTZ and the UNDP.
The author would like to thank the following persons for invaluable input and detailed comments (any errors and misjudgments are of course his own): Philipp Schmidt, Andreas Meiszner, Susanna Albrecht, Kader Ekici, Christian Gmelin, Petra Hagemann, Claudia Lange, Sarah Malelu, Sabine Olthof, Natalie Maria Stewart, Lennart Stoy, Miriam Unverzagt.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GIZ or any other affiliation.