Understanding Crowdworkers’ Learning Practices

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper reports findings of a study exploring how crowdworkers develop their knowledge and skills in the course of their work on digital platforms. The focus is on learning initiated and self-regulated by crowdworkers: engaging in challenging tasks; studying professional literature/online resources; sharing knowledge and collaborating with others. The mixedmethod study involves: (i) survey, (ii) interviews and observation of crowdworkers; (iii) interviews with crowdwork platforms providers, employers and policymakers; (iv) analysis of worker discussion fora and publically available materials about training provision within the platforms. The study draws on data from two platforms representing two types of crowdwork – microwork (CrowdFlower) and online freelancing (Upwork). Initial findings uncovered evidence for considerable individual and social learning activity within both types of crowdwork. Findings suggest that both microwork and online freelancing are learning-intensive and both groups of workers are learning-oriented and self-regulated. Crowdwork is a growing form of employment in developed and developing countries. Improved understanding of learning practices within crowdwork would inform the design and governance of crowdwork and empower crowdworkers to direct their own learning enhancing the developmental potential of crowdwork.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event17th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction. EARLI 2017: Education In the Crossroads of Economy and Politics – Role of Research in the Advancement of Public Good - Tampere, Finland
Duration: 29 Aug 20172 Sept 2017
Conference number: 17


Conference17th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction. EARLI 2017
Internet address


  • Informal learning
  • Mixed-method research
  • Self-regulation
  • Workplace learning

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