Saturday, September 16, 2006

How do you make Wikis work?

In one of his usual thoughtful posts on eLearning Technology, Tony Karrer discussed why there was no elearning wiki. Coincidentally, at exactly the same time Dave Lee launched an eLearning wiki as part of his eelearning blog focused initially on web 2.0 applications in eLearning.

I think I am now getting a feel for the best ways of using blogging and finding it a useful if overly addictive tool. However, my previous involvement with wikis has been fairly negative in that they simply have not worked. Yet people keep referring to them as a key potential tool, so I am obviously missing something.

I wondered, therefore, if any one could point me to material -case studies, tips, guidelines - that might help me understand the rules that need to be followed if a wiki is to be successful.


Tony Karrer said...

Jim - there are MANY internal corporate Wikis that have great traction. They become an easy to use dumping ground for all sorts of information. It's an easier to use Content Management System. If you look at the case studies on JotSpot or for DRKW you should find some good case study information around this.

But as for "rules" these are sorely lacking with each company establishing their own "rules" and often these are not at all consistent even within the organization.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Tony. I will follow these leads up. I suppose by rules I mean decision principles, things that will determine when a wiki is likely to work, plus processes to help it work, rather than formal procedures.

In trying to think things through with all these tools, I keep coming back to two issues.

There must be a need that is important to the target group. Then given that time has become such a scarce commodity, the time involved in doing it including learning curve time has to be sufficiently low in an absolute sense to fit into existing schedules while also being low relative to the potential paybacks.