Not sure why I'm so excited about wikis and their potential for the association education community? Still not sure what a wiki even is? Let's see if we can answer those two questions for you.
What is a wiki? If you visit the largest wiki in the world, www.wikipedia.com, you'll view what appears to be a website with millions of pieces of information. That in itself isn't too exciting, but how that content got their, and how the content is maintained, is amazing. Content is developed by ANYONE on this planet with an Internet connection. The site is completely run, managed, edited, and content contributed by volunteers; not highly paid academics, although some of those folks may choose to contribute as well. Volunteers can add and edit content anywhere on the page at any time. This basic premise has amazing opportunity in several different ways for association educators. Click the link below to get more info...
Association educators can use wikis in several compelling ways.
- Wrapped with a conference (view www.learningwiki.com - the wiki for the Learning 2005 conference with Elliott Masie). This allows session facilitators to have open space to add resources, notes, comments, research, etc. AND it allows participants to do the same.
LESSON: It fundamentally changes the role of "instructors" in a traditional classroom setting and gives "instructor" capabilities to participants.
- Instructional design becomes a shorter process. By creating a wiki and giving permissions to a larger audience, an association can create better courses (especially eLearning courses) in a shorter period of time by letting a larger population create and edit content for courseware.
LESSON: Courseware is developed in less time, a larger audience can help create the content, thus providing rapid course content. I would also argue that the content is more timely and a wider range of perspectives can be brought in globally.
- Face-to-face sessions can be more targeted because a wiki can allow participants to help create the agenda prior to an event. So if you have a session on a series of topics, you can create a wiki page for each topic and have participants create the agenda on that topic. They can share pre-work or knowledge ahead of time to allow everyone to start at about the same level of knowledge.
LESSON: Face-to-face programs become more meaningful and purposeful because basic content is covered prior to an event.