An interesting post, over at GigaOm, on When big data meets journalism, talks about how companies are using the power of tools that allow journalists to analyze information. At the least, through simply analyzing content for times, dates, places, phone numbers, data (structured and unstructured) and people references, a lot of connections to a resource can be uncovered (remember Zoetrope?). This becomes the basis for a whole lot of possible collaboration and contribution to a topic.
I think this is a format that is extremely well suited for collaborative educational research. I am sure people will be worried about the quality of connections that are generated by a machine algorithm, but this can get better over time and actually allow curation as well. But the idea that structured and unstructured sources of information can come together in a Powerset, the erstwhile Twine and Zoetrope manner, is brilliant for the learning process.
The ability for a learner to be able to get such views of information in a curated manner is going to be really important. The information largely exists on the web, but really in as many bits and parts, rendering it unusable or very inefficient from a learning perspective. Our current mode is to do the search and use intelligence to sift through many dead-ends and irrelevant information to actually get what we need in the way we need it. There simply has to be a way to accomplish the latter, at least to a large extent. It is only then that the online learning process will become efficient enough for more people to use.