Wednesday, August 31, 2005

WIKIWIKI WHAT? Important eLearning Development tool

If you haven't heard about WIKIs then you must start this blog entry by visiting wikipedia. Currently Wikipedia is the largest online, collaborative, encyclopedia with content managed completely by netizens.

I will not go into the history of wikis and the details can google "wiki" and some great information.

What I want to mention is how a WIKI can be used as a tool for YOU...the Corporate eLearning Developer. You may live in a Sharepoint world, or some other gigantic, beaurocratic, locked-down enterprise collaboration/KM tool, but that doesn't mean you can't safely, and effectively start a grass roots WIKI site and TRULY begin to witness the power of open source collaboration.

Check out how WIKIs help document the Gulf Coast disaster

I am currently experimenting with a WIKI (OpenWIKI) as a content gathering tool during online course development. This is working especially well when multiple SMEs are part of the project. The WIKI acts as the brainstorming repository and "debate" center when you are trying to get everyone on the same page. The nature of the WIKI paging structure also has the added benefit of aiding in the organization of the content in an instructionally sound manner. The SMEs begin to see relationships between the different data points and they begin to take greater control and ownership of the content.

Once the course is created you can leave the links within the course itself so that users can begin to populate the WIKI pages with their comments, knowledge, thoughts, and questions. While much of this type of collaboration may be (now or in the future) included within the enterprise LMS systems, not all companies have the budget for the million dollar LMS systems. Besides with no $$$ and limited set up time you lose nothing for giving it a try.

For a REALLY easy wiki you can also try TIDDLYWIKI . This is a fun little wiki that is completely contained inside of 1 HTML document. How much easier can it get. Throw it onto your web server and you are up and running.

Good luck and don't forget to have fun!!!
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