Conference Papers

Web 2.0 to Policy 2.0: Co-creation of policy in post-compulsory education

In 2002 O’Reilly sketched out the topography of emerging Web 2.0 technologies in a meme map that set out the key affordances of those technologies. The authors have been engaged with public sector post-compulsory education and exploring the impact of technology on the management and operations of providers in the post-school sectors and the development of local and national policies to address contemporary educational concerns. It is our contention that current debates on the use and influence of digital technologies plays up the potential of those technologies to change the nature of post-compulsory education e.g. MOOCs with their focus on informational content and the delivery technologies, rather than the institutional and policy context in which the content and technology is applied.
This focus on technology, without a consideration of the context in which it is used, has been described by Winner 2010 as “tools without handles” and by Morozov 2013 as “cyber-utopianism”. This paper sets out a rationale for organisational and personal engagement in the formulation of policy, building on our work on an organisational architecture of participation Garnett & Ecclesfield (2008), to address those concerns and incorporate the authors more recent work (2013, 2014) on the nature of post-compulsory education, open scholarship, professional practice and organisational development.
The paper explores how Web 2.0 technologies can be developed in Post Compulsory Education organisational contexts to foster engagement and support collaboration by participants and so enable providers and their constituencies to become key determiners of the content and direction of policy instead of the policy “wonks” (Morozov 2013) or audit agencies such as inspectorates and funding agencies with their centralising agendas. We characterise this dialogical governance approach as Policy 2.0 and will outline how this can be supported by collaborative technologies, and the use of conceptual tools such as the “Policy Forest” to engage specific audiences in education with a range of perspectives and agendas within a given policy context.
Recent government and EU policy has changed the nature of post-compulsory education in the UK without significant input by learners, practitioners or provider organisations into the policy formation, notwithstanding recent initiatives such as FELTAG the English Ministerial advisory group. Policy 2.0 has evolved from earlier projects like the Xchange policy conferences by engaging learners and the wider community into local initiatives (e.g. “MOSI-ALONG” Manchester) and draws on these experiences to set out a model for the co-creation of policy.

Ecclesfield, N. (2014) 'Web 2.0 to Policy 2.0: Co-creation of policy in post-compulsory education', paper presented to The 10th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 26–27 June, viewed 16 June 2021, <>