Wikis and e-learning

Thought to become a revolution in the way we teach and learn, e-learning has not yet achieved its full potential. This is due to a lack of understanding of the way people do actually learn. Using a wiki instead of traditional e-learning tools does make a difference. Not convinced yet?

How we do not learn

We (assuming that here "we" refers to us all human beings) do not learn by staring blankly at blackboards. We did not do at school, and we do not either while staring blankly at webpages. We do not learn either by reading ill-written content served in an ill-conceived fashion by a Flash applet. Last but not least, we do not learn while interacting with silly pre-programmed answers offered by a computer, however clever its programmer think they have been.

How we do learn

We learn through our active interaction with people and problems. We learn while we experience interest in the subject of which mastering we are pursuing. We learn when an emotional transfer occurs during the studying process. Which part of your physics 101 course do you remember today: the textbook readings or the fuzzy chemical reactions in the labs? This is what learning is all about: interest for the topic and self-involvement in the learning process.

Learning through a wiki

A wiki offers a platform for clever learning together. The interaction with other people (human beings, not machines) provides us with feedback and new insights. There is additional motivation too, created as a byproduct from the involvement within a community of peers and of area of interest. You do not feel the same emotional bonds for a computer than for other people (At the very least I assume most people do not). There is an acknowledgment of oneself as an human being worth of being talked, discussed and spent time with in the process too.

The core issue? The structure of contemporary e-learning does not match the way we do learn. Inversely, a wiki goes in the right direction since it promotes learning through interaction.

Want more ? Stay tuned.

© Guillaume Lerouge for WikiBC

Why Wikis Will Revolutionize The Way We Think About Education

I realized a few days ago that the way education is currently provided to students around the world is becoming increasingly inefficient day after day. I read some time ago a paper that stated that the only thing that has remained still for the past 100 years is the classroom. This is true and really surprising.

The Classroom Concept

What are the main benefits of getting in a classroom? Obviously, grouping people in a place where they can be taught by someone with a specific experience in one field, that this person will try to communicate to his / her audience. Another feature of current formal education is the fact that the majority of it takes place before you are 25, and then abruptly stops. Does it means that you stop learning when you quit school? Or even that you are properly equipped for the tasks you have to do? No. The education you received was not personalized either, which means that in the bundle of knowledges you had to absorb a wide part will neither be of any use to you. Why should we go toschool and Uni for years without even learning things that are of direct interest to us? Wikis change this.

Lifelong learning?

Should lifelong learning take place in classrooms? Taken broadly, we are learning at every second of our lives. Learning how to do something specific, making connexions with what we already know, thinking baout new ways of doing things... Now with a wiki all those thoughts could not only be recorded easily, but at the same time be shared in a relevant space with people who could enrich their contents and their scope significantly. You do not need to be in the same place, at the same time anylonger to share with others. Now you can create communities of people interested in the same topic and start learning from one another in minutes. Boundaries are not a necessity. Free your knowledge!

Making intangible tangible

Most learning processes take place through interactions between people, not necessarily in a formalized manner. A wiki gives a place for the fruit of these interactions to be expressed and discussed with others. Little contributions from many end up in amazing results. You can teach yourself what you are interested in with the help of others who share your passion. Rating can take place through a pari assessment that understands comprehensively what you are trying to achieve and whether you succeeded at it. Within companies, it means that constant learning and formation concerns can be addresses much more effectivelly than ever before. Information flows and you have access to it.

Education and the ability to learn continuously are currently one of the most regarded assets in business life. A wiki will give your organization the power to pursue this objective effectively. Remember the World without Wikipedia ?

Want more ? Stay tuned.

© Guillaume Lerouge for WikiBC