What are Wikis? And should you use them? A Wiki can be defined as ‘‘a system that allows one or more people to build up a corpus of knowledge in a set of interlinked web pages, using a process of creating and editing pages” (p.5) (6).
Simply put, a Wiki can be defined as a web based tool on which users collaboratively add/delete/modify content directly from the web browser. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia.
Adopting technology in education can be very challenging. Research studies document many barriers (lack of resources, lack of education etc). Wikis have become an increasingly popular form of technology use in classrooms. Educators and teachers are using Wikis as effective teaching and learning tools to enhance the learning process. Collaboration is an important part of teaching and learning. And Wikis can facilitate collaboration. Wikis can be used to engage learners in learning with others.
Wikis can increase educational productivity:
- Wikis support collaborative learning because Wikis can enable groups of students to work together to solve a problem, complete a project etc.
- Using Wikis effectively may help your students reach Bloom’s higher order skills, e.g., creating, evaluation etc.
- Wikis promote active learning where students can actively participate in educational activities like writing, discussing etc.
- Wikis can help you create interactive learning environments
- Wikis can help you promote open dialogue and encourage community building
- Wikis can help you prepare your students for the 21st century marketplace by developing digital literacy skills
- Wikis can improve students’ writing skills
How to use Wikis in teaching and learning
If you are an educator and want to use Wikis, here some some tips for you:
- Set clear rules and expectations
- Let students know what you expect and how students’ work will be evaluated (perhaps design a rubric)
- Include detailed instructions
- Give authentic assignments
- Clearly define students’ roles and activities
- Closely monitor students’ activities
- Ask students to review and comment on each others entries
- Encourage interaction
- Become familiar with Wikis yourself
You can use Wikis for the following types of activities:
- A white paper
- Research projects
- Student e-portfolios
- Reading comments
- Class summaries
- Discussion activities
- Creating collaborative stories
- Peer feedback
- Resource repository
- Teachers can publish instructional materials
What to avoid
- Do not assume that your students have previous Wiki experience
- Structure and guidance is necessary
Wikis can develop teachers’ knowledge management processes and fulfil student’s satisfaction while collaborating in designing interdisciplinary projects. 
If effectively deployed, wikis, blogs and podcasts could offer a way to enhance students’, clinicians’ and patients’ learning experiences, and deepen levels of learners’ engagement and collaboration within digital learning environments. 
Wiki technology provides new opportunities to foster collaborative writing in teacher education. 
This study demonstrates that while wikis can be a tool for post-secondary collaborative learning, appropriate pedagogical supports are required for successful implementation.
We believe that wiki technology offers a number of potential benefits for administrators, students and instructors, including the ability to share information online, to construct knowledge together, to facilitate collaboration and to enable social learning and peer feedback.
- Biasutti, M., & Heba, E. D. (2012). Using Wiki in teacher education: Impact on knowledge management processes and student satisfaction. Computers & Education, 59(3), 861-872.
- Boulos, M. N. K., Maramba, I., & Wheeler, S. (2006). Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC medical education, 6(1), 41.
- Hadjerrouit, S. (2014). Wiki as a collaborative writing tool in teacher education: Evaluation and suggestions for effective use. Computers in Human Behavior, 32, 301-312.
- Zheng, B., Niiya, M., & Warschauer, M. (2015). Wikis and collaborative learning in higher education. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 24(3), 357-374.
- Rasmussen, A., Lewis, M., & White, J. (2013). The application of wiki technology in medical education. Medical teacher, 35(2), 109-114.
- Franklin, T., & Van Harmelen, M. (2007). Web 2.0 for content for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Bristol: JISC.
See also: ADDIE model