Collective artifacts structure collaborative learning and engagement

Similarly to how Personal projects structure learning and engagement, creating an artifact (some document, paper, video, book which synthesizes something new out of what you have learnt) as a group may be a useful goal to structure collective learning.

However, by focusing on creating X you may become distracted from learning Y. So ideally the system or interface of interaction should facilitate learning Y in a way that naturally builds up to X over time. I imagine this could be done through some system of highlighting and summarizing with a well-defined structure in-mind for the final artifact. I will experiment with this type of synthesis in my ☰ Architecture of Writing Course, as well as future Learning Groups experiments relating to ʘ Neuropolis


This collective production of an artifact enables two psychological frames of peer-learning based on the idea that Teaching a topic deepens your own knowledge that topic. First you learn deeper by teaching your peer, but also you collectively learn deeper by teaching those who follow in your footsteps. Class artifacts can serve as a launchpad for future cohorts.

Upon some practical experimentation with this idea I have discovered that Artifacts might not be the right framing for collective output. At least, not for every kind of group as different groups will be structured around different goals and motivations for learning. And framing as an "artifact" makes it feel like it has to be perfect and creates a psychological barrier to systematically working towards it.