The Management and Creation of Knowledge : Do Wikis Help?

The Management and Creation of Knowledge : Do Wikis Help?

C. Bruen (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), N. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland), P. Gormley (National University of Ireland at Galway, Ireland), J. Harvey (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland) and C. McAvinia (National University of Ireland at Maynooth, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-879-1.ch006


Wikis are frequently cited in higher education research as appropriate and powerful web spaces which provide opportunities to capture, discuss, and review individual, group, project or organisational activities. These activities, in turn, offer possibilities for knowledge development by utilising wiki collaborative active spaces.The chapter uses selected case studies to illustrate the use of wikis to support online community based tasks, project development/processes, collaborative materials development and various student and peer supported activities. A key focus of the chapter is on evaluating the effectiveness (or otherwise) of wikis to create online communities to support knowledge management, development, retention and transfer.By way of contextualising the studies, a variety of examples of the use of wikis in higher education are reviewed. While there are relatively few studies of the use of Web 2.0 for the creation of knowledge, there are a number of reports which indicate the preference for the use of Web 2.0 technologies over the standard virtual learning environments.The chapter concludes with a review of the emergent themes arising and lessons learned from the case studies. This leads into a series of recommendations relating to the effective establishment, design, management and use of wikis to support knowledge creation and collaborative enterprise.
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Theoretical Underpinnings

In pedagogical terms, a key attraction of using wikis is that their structure is shaped from within, rather than being imposed from above by proprietary institutional systems. Therefore, users do not have to adapt their practice to the ‘dictates of a system’, but can allow their practice to define the structure of that system instead (Lamb, 2004). It could be argued, therefore, that wikis provide a technology which is more akin to the development of a socio-constructivist pedagogical approach in HE than traditional virtual learning environments.

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