, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 91–100 | Cite as

Design for collective intelligence: pop-up communities in MOOCs

  • Muriel Garreta-DomingoEmail author
  • Peter B. Sloep
  • Davinia Hérnandez-Leo
  • Yishay Mor
Original Article


Many current authors point toward the heightening of networked individualism and how this affects community creation and engagement. This trend poses strong challenges to the potential beneficial effects of collective intelligence. Education is one of the realms that can strongly suffer from this globalized individualism. Learning is deeply enhanced by social interactions and losing this social dimension will have long-lasting effects in future generations. Networked learning is also a by-product of our societal context, but not per se individual. Our paper presents a case—the HANDSON massive open online course (MOOC)—in which a purposely designed learning environment fosters the emergence of a kind of collective intelligence which, by the learners own accord, brings about a heightened sense of community. The MOOC’s design managed to enable individual learning paces without killing the social dimension. Thus, we argue that when learning together intentionally and informally in networked online environments, small and temporary communities (pop-up communities we call them) will form. This nascent sense of community is a first step that will ultimately contribute to the common good.


Collective intelligence Learning design Networked learning MOOCs Networked individualism Pop-up community 



We want to thank all facilitators for voluntarily donating their precious time to the HANDSON project, and to the HANDSON team as a whole for their productive collaboration. See the project website for details on the project and its participants The HANDSON project (531086-LLP-1-2012-1-ES-KA3-KA3MP) has been funded with support from the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. This research has been partially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project TIN2014-53199-C3-3-R) and Recer Caixa. DHR is a Serra Húnter fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muriel Garreta-Domingo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter B. Sloep
    • 2
  • Davinia Hérnandez-Leo
    • 1
  • Yishay Mor
    • 3
  1. 1.ICT DepartmentUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.The Welten Institute of the Open University of the NetherlandsHeerlenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.The Centre for Innovation and Excellence in TeachingLevinsky College of EducationTel AvivIsrael

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