Constitution UK

Crowdsourcing for Massive Engagement

London School of Economics and Political Science embarked on a crowdsourced, gamified approach to education and citizenship, harnessing the massive open online space to engage a community of learners in writing a model UK constitution.

The project is a Campus Technology Innovators Award winner for 2016.

Please visit the Campus Technology website to read more about this innovative project which was led by LSE Professor Connor Gearty of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) in partnership with Learning Technology and Innovation



More information on the project can be found on our blog

Constitution UK wins Campus Technology Teaching and Learning Innovation award

LSE has been awarded with the Campus Technology Teaching and Innovation (pg30) 2016 award for their innovative work on the Constitution UK project which ran in early 2015.  The Campus Technology article on the award was published on 17 August 2016.

Constitution UK was a collaborative project that aimed to crowdsource and hack the UK constitution. The project, led by LSE Professor Connor Gearty of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) in partnership with Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI), invited individuals to share views and ideas on what should be part of a UK constitution in the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta. The project generated over 1 million words, thousands of ideas and tens of thousands of votes and resulted in the writing of an 800 word crowdsourced constitution of the UK.  Over 1500 community members took part in this large scale public policy and learning project, with over 20 LSE students acting as moderators.

The project utilized innovative methods of engagement, used techniques such as ideation, crowdsourcing, informal learning and gamification conducted through an online platform (Crowdicity) in order to generate engagement that increased over the duration of the course.  We engaged social media organisations and special interest groups to ensure successful integration of learning outcomes and the effective and representative engagement of the community in the platform. If you want to know more about the project you check it out here. 

This prestigious Teaching and Learning Innovator award by Campus Technology magazine (an industry, leading magazine for online and blended learning professionals) recognises the project in that it ‘…delivered both a public policy success as well as a significant and innovative approach to online learning and engagement.’



“… The awards represent excellence in experimentation, design, collaboration and implementation, and the projects they recognize expand the possibilities for individual campuses and the field of higher education technology,” said Dr. John Hess, program chair, Campus Technology Conference.

“We are extremely proud to have been nominated and then selected for this prestigious award.  It recognises an incredibly innovative project that delivered far beyond our wildest dreams.  It also recognises the hard work and commitment of many academic and professional staff at the LSE” said Peter Bryant, Head of Learning Technology and Innovation.  “It remains the most remarkable project I have ever worked on.” noted Paul Sullivan, the Manager of the IPA.


June 2nd, 2016|Announcements, Constitution UK, Ed-Tech news and issues, Events & Workshops (LTI), innovation, NetworkED, Projects, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Constitution UK wins Campus Technology Teaching and Learning Innovation award|

Hacking Learning – The pedagogy and the practices behind Constitution UK


In January 2015, the London School of Economics and Political Science, through the Institute of Public Affairs, launched the third stage of an innovative civic engagement project which aimed to crowd source the UK Constitution.  Involving over 1500 participants, generating hundreds of ideas and thousands of comments and votes, the crowd generated the clauses of the constitution, commented on them, voted them up and down, debated the relative merits of competing clauses and then refined them to a manageable number that could be aggregated and argued at a constitutional convention in April 2015.


‘On the whole I found the experience very stimulating and to discover there are a lot of folk out there who are thinking along very similar lines to my own leads me to hope that such exercises are the seed to seeing real change in this country.’ (Comment from project participant)

Learning Technology and Innovation came into the Constitution UK project in September 2014 to pilot an innovative model of engagement and participatory online learning that challenges the dominant paradigms of on-line pedagogy and design. Our approach is built on the potential that exists in leveraging and magnifying the power of the community and the ‘massive’, in order to empower citizens to engage in debate and identify solutions to what may be intractable, impossible or controversial problems or challenges.  Our approach is informed by some detailed theoretical and practical interrogations of a number of conceptual frameworks such as peer learning, incidental learning, digital pedagogies, crowd learning and ideation. It also integrates some aspects of modern digital pedagogy such as hacktivism, making and digital citizenship (especially in terms of participatory democracy), exploring the notion of learning as incidental, tacit and exploratory.  There were no readings,  there was no ‘course’, no lectures, no explicit theories, just a series of challenges, a semi-gamified process of engagement and a framework to create, motivate and empower the community to make something based on what they knew and had learnt.


 ‘Many other participants were considerably more educated than I am, and I don’t usually get the opportunity to attend things like this, while I expect it is more normal for the (large!) group of people who had postgraduate degrees. It was wonderful to be included’ (Comment from project participant)

Our approach challenged the role of the institution and the academic in an open space.  The ‘traditional’ constructs and practices that define scaffolded learning, course design and pedagogy and constructive alignment were flipped to entrust learning to an engaged, creative and critical community.  The project was underpinned by an innovative pedagogical model, informed by the notion that learning can occur through a variety of informal engagements and activities, supported by both peer and academic interaction, but not privileged by either, effectively flipping the role of the academic and academy.  The environment in which people could choose to learn and/or apply their learning was relatively unstructured, fluid and under the control of the community.


‘There are issues about the fact that the technology privileges people who have access and time to take part, which needs to be addressed. There are other ways it could be developed, but generally I think this is a very positive and exciting initiative.  I do think universities should be doing this kind of thing, and more of it.’ (Comment from project participant)

This pilot led to some interesting observations about the model we were testing, especially regarding what is defined as participation and how deep or resonant (lasting) that participation was.

1. Harnessing slacktivism and/or clicktivism

The fleeting nature of mainly online interactions through social media is directly apparent in engagement statistics around MOOCs.  What constitutes involvement can be measured in single clicks.  In a community where participation started at the point where competing ideas and perspectives were voted up or down in hopefully informed ways, the depth or resonance of learning becomes an interesting question.  Modern educational lore (especially in the MOOC space) argues that ‘being there’ is an educationally valid a form of participation as ‘learning there’.  Certainly a challenge for our approach was harnessing the power of clicking, hacking and slacking within a community, or at least accepting that there may be learning informing those behaviours.  The game aspects of our model rewarded a more in-depth engagement, but towards the end of the project where motivation and participation had begun to wane, rewarding clicking (through the mechanism of up/down votes on an idea) increased overall engagement with the project as opposed to the more traditional trail off.

2. Social observability (where the more public the engagement, the more there is observable ‘subsequent meaningful contribution’ (Kristofferson et al., 2014)

Where learning was demonstrated by participants in the project, it was clearly in the glare of the public and open to the community to comment.  One of the key aspects of the model was to make it easy not to lurk. Barriers to entry were low, it was easy to post, comment and vote.  In fact, despite expectations before the project, we found it easier to generate ideas than to get votes!  But most importantly, it was safe community, with excellent facilitators, a wide variety of participants from a number of fields of society and a very gands off approach by the academics. Ideas became comments which became votes, flipping engagement from the traditional .  Having their idea voted down didn’t stop people from participating.  Openness, transparency and authenticity of interaction directly enhanced the quality of the ways people demonstrated their learning and (sometimes vocally) expressed their views and ideas.  It is what makes collaborative learning powerful, the ability to share your views, debate, defend, redefine and restate them in the face of competing and supporting opinion.  It is a 21st century skill of sorting and validating the relevant from the sea of information (in this case the millions of words on the platform)


‘Community members were surprisingly good at separating their own views (I voted this idea down) from the broader task (but the community supports it, so what is a workable provision). Debate was generally high quality and respectful, with many very well informed participants.’ (Community from community participant)


3. Keep the involvement of the crowd at the highest possible level
Wherever ‘traditional’ educational assumptions pervaded the pilot, it was clear that these ran counter to the wider intentions of the approach.  The approach sought to value the crowd, leverage what it means to be part of a community and learn incidentally and through doing.

‘…have noticed there was a tendency to assume only academics could properly understand and assess the issues, a common problem not just with academics but other professionals, we tend to assume it is only our own professions that can really grasp the issues in full.’


The Constitution UK was a brilliant first pilot of what we hope will be an innovative programme of projects harnessing the power of the crowd, learning by, through and from the community in ways that challenge and shape the traditional approaches to pedagogy and leverage the transformative and disruptive influences of the social sciences.


We are presenting the findings from the pilot at three conferences over the next four months, if you are interested in finding out more, we will be sharing the slides, papers and outputs from those conferences on this blog, or just come along and see what we have to say.


Academic Practice and Technology Conference – July 7th 2015

Crowd Sourcing the UK Constitution – Participation and learning in a post-digital world

ALT-C – Association of Learning Technology – September 2015

Stop making sense: Learning, community, digital citizenship and the massive in a post-MOOC world

14th European Conference on e-Learning – ECEL 2015 – October 2015

Disrupting how we ‘do’ learning through participatory social media: a case study of the Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution project

‘The experiment gave this 85 year old retired professional engineer a feeling that there’s hope for Britain yet’ (Comment from project participant)


Image from

May 18th, 2015|Constitution UK, innovation, Projects|Comments Off on Hacking Learning – The pedagogy and the practices behind Constitution UK|

Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution


Last night was the successful launch of the Constitution UK Phase II project, a collaborative platform designed to crowdsource and hack the UK constitution, led by Professor Conor Gearty of the Institute for Public Affairs.  LTI was a partner in the project along with the IPA and supplied significant leadership around the instructional and technological design of the platform and how the engagements and interactions of participants will help achieve the desired outcome and build on the reputation of the LSE as an innovative learning organisation.

For 10 weeks the project invites you to share your views and ideas on what should be in a new modern written UK constitution. You will be able to submit content, vote ideas up or down and question the experts. Your ideas and discussions will count. At the end of March your ideas will feed into a Constitutional Convention where we will put together a written constitution using only the crowdsourced content in time for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, June 2015. Discussions will include the role of the Head of State, the Prime Minister, how should we elect our representatives?, what is the purpose of Parliament?, what powers should be devolved?, what should be the responsibilities of local government?, what rights do I have in the UK and how may these be affected or maintained by our judicial system and the European Union. Finally what values do we uphold in the UK?  Moderators, all of whom have expertise on different aspects of constitutionalism, will be on hand to assist you with the process of constitution drafting.

On behalf of Learning Technology and Innovation, the team led by Darren Moon and including Chris Fryer and Malte Werner has worked closely with Conor and the team of the IPA to develop innovative methods of engagement, train the facilitators and moderators and work closely with the platform (Crowdicity), social media organisations and special interest groups to ensure a successful integration of learning outcomes and the effective and representative engagement of the community in the platform.

The contribution of LTI was recognised by Professor Conor Gearty  at the launch last night. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the LTI team for their commitment, enthusiasm and effort, above and beyond the call.  They have been instrumental in getting this project running within an extremely tight deadline, to deliver on the innovative approaches that the project demanded and to provide the School with an excellent example of what we can do when we are provided with an engaged academic project, funding that supports non-traditional and learner-led approaches to on-line learning and a wholehearted commitment from an enthusiastic and passionate advocate whose voice and engagement motivate and empower a community to get involved.

We invite all of you to share in this involvement, be part of the process and participate in one of the largest digital civic engagement projects in the UK.  Go to, sign up and take part.


Update > Constitution UK project has been awarded a Campus Technology for Innovation (pg 30).

January 16th, 2015|Constitution UK, innovation, Open Education, Projects, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution|