August 8, 2019
The L&D Benefits of Contributing to Wikis (Learning Thursday #17)
August 8, 2019
The L&D Benefits of Contributing to Wikis (Learning Thursday #17)
Katrina Marie Baker works for Adobe as a Senior Learning Evangelist. Her independently operated consulting firm has advised organizations in aerospace, construction, healthcare, legal, retail, technology, and transportation. Katrina facilitates keynote sessions and master classes for learning professionals. She also maintains YouTube channel Learn Tech Collective. She has authored books LMS Success (2018), The LMS Selection Checklist (2018), and Corporate Training Tips & Tricks (2017). Katrina is a former Director of Technology with the Association for Talent Development. She has worked in people/project management and global training capacities for Fortune 500 retailer Whole Foods Market, and Global 100 law firms Cooley LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP. Previously, Katrina worked in music and video production for clients such as Disney Channel and Adult Swim.
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This Learning Thursday article builds on a previous article about participatory learning.

According to Cress & Kimmerle, individual learning occurs:

  • “As a result of externalization (due to processes of deeper processing and elaboration which are activated by the externalization process),
  • “As a result of internalization (due to the simple adding of new knowledge units) and
  • “As a result of inferences (due to the expansion of a person’s individual knowledge space through internalization and, arising from that, an opportunity to interconnect old and new knowledge units, i.e. inferences of knowledge units that were unknown until then).”

When an individual contributes to a wiki, all of these learning processes occur simultaneously.  That’s a lot of activity – almost like the individual is exercising on multiple pieces of gym equipment at the same time.  Wikis therefore have a real potential to benefit learners when they are incorporated into a classroom experience.  Schweder and Wissick note that wikis appeal to shy individuals, and they can bring together multiple stakeholders in the learning environment (parents, teachers, students, and outside resources).  Participating in wikis can even encourage outgoing behavior in school-aged students.

Many corporate organizations resist building internal wikis out of fear that the information will be inaccurate.  According to Jimmy Wales, and this article from The Connected Learning Alliance, wikis tend to be more accurate than popular opinion would have us believe.  The Connected Learning Alliance notes that wikis can be inaccurate due to being incomplete and may therefore not present the full and complete topic.

A previous Learning Thursday article included examples of how beneficial a participatory culture can be to learning and to society in general.  Wikis promote a participatory culture, as does Scratch.  Through Scratch, students use a simple computer programming language to build games, stories, and other media projects.  When one student shares a project, others often build onto it or create their own iteration.  When a learner is able to analyze a problem or situation, and then formulate complex additions or responses to what they see, it proves they have developed an understanding.  Where traditional learning environments fail is often in the “real world” context, because traditional environments ask the student to memorize but not necessary understand.  If a student is able to apply complex knowledge in a real world environment, such as a wiki article or Scratch project, they have truly gained understanding.

If you’re interested in creating a participatory culture for your corporate training program, check out Adobe Captivate Prime.  You can create topic-specific discussion boards for learners, and Prime’s built-in editing tool allows them to create and share videos, audio, and much more.  Here’s a demo of Prime’s social learning features.  And here’s a recent webinar I presented on ways to engage learners without breaking the bank.

Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

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