Wikiversity:Learning by doing
Welcome to a learning project about learning by doing. Learning by doing is an approach which has emerged from discussion of a Wikiversity learning model. On this page, we will explore what learning by doing means, how it works - as well as outline ways for you to learn by doing at Wikiversity.
What is learning by doing? 
Learning by doing is essentially about getting involved in an activity and, through the process of doing this activity, learning about things like:
- how that activity works,
- how you find (or feel about) the activity,
- what the activity makes you think about, and
- what doing this activity enables you to do.
You might also be prompted to think about the general nature of the activity - in other words, the way this activity is done by other people, in different contexts. Put together, this learning can serve to strengthen your own understanding of the activity through gaining practical, first-hand experience of the activity. It can also be a stimulating, motivating way for people to learn - in fact, people can often be having so much fun in taking part in the activity, that they can learn whilst being unaware that they are learning! While this may be desirable for some types of projects, where participation is the key, it may also cause problems in the sense that the learning gained from a specific task is diffuse and unrelated to other aspects of the learner's experience, worldview, and field-of-study. In other words, learning by doing is something that the learner should ideally reflect on during and after the activity to get most out of it - but it can also be an extremely natural way of learning (it is sometimes referred to as "incidental learning"), which can be undertaken - consciously or unconsciously - by anyone at any time.
Implementing activities into articles 
There is a template that can be used to denote that an activity can be done in the article. This is the activity template. It helps to keep the article organized and should be implemented more in articles. There are many articles which are missing activities and it would be nice if they were added.
What is "reflection"? 
Reflection is being able to 'pause', or 'step back' from your ongoing experience (or activity), in order to think about the activity, your part in it, how you did it/are doing it, what it means for you to do this activity, how you felt/feel whilst doing it, and how the activity relates to other experiences you've had or how it relates to what you want to do in the future - short and/or long term. It is about making sense of your experiences in a way that is meaningful and practical to you. There are different ways to reflect on activities - we generally start by thinking, then by writing down our thoughts in some form. The form this takes is entirely up to the individual - it can be in the form of a diary (or blog), a poem, a narrative (story), or an academic essay. On this last possibility, it is usually better to keep reflections as "raw", personal, and honest as possible - something that is often missing in an academic paper - though academic papers often do emerge directly from people's reflective journals. Other forms of reflection can be visual - through painting, photographing, filming - or even other media like gathering together newspaper articles in a personally meaningful way, maybe even singing or dancing! The main thing is that your reflections are meaningful to you, that they are honest and true to your feelings, and that they help you make sense of what you are or have been doing.
Historical introduction 
What does "learn by doing" mean in the context of Wikiversity? The original Wikiversity project proposal suggested that at Wikiversity "learn by doing" should mean taking courses online.
The original Wikiversity e-learning model 
Wikipedia is for encyclopedia articles. Wikibooks is for textbook modules. Encyclopedia articles and textbooks are two specific types of learning resources. The original Wikiversity project proposal called for creation of a website where "learn by doing" would mean participating in online courses. This proposed "e-learning model" suggested that Wikiversity online courses would make use of encyclopedia articles, textbooks and other types of learning resources. Many people who were interested in the Wikiversity project imagined that Wikiversity would become an accredited educational institution.
The problem with courses 
Conventional courses rely on certified teachers who give grades to students for their course work. Students in conventional courses earn academic credit for passed courses within degree programs that confer degrees based on completed courses. However, Wikiversity is a wiki, a place for collaborative creation of webpages. Wikiversity has no means to certify teachers or become an accredited institution that can confer degrees. In November 2005 the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees rejected the first Wikiversity project proposal and instructed the Wikiversity community to modify the proposal to "exclude online-courses". The Board requested that the Wikiversity community "clarify [the] concept of e-learning" that will guide Wikiversity.
Learning projects 
There are many ways to "learn by doing" besides participating in conventional courses. The approved Wikiversity project proposal included an e-learning model based on the general idea of "learning projects". Wikiversity learning projects provide activities that allow Wikiversity participants to learn by doing.
"..... the idea here is to also host learning communities, so people who are actually trying to learn, actually have a place to come and interact and help each other figure out how to learn things. We're also going to be hosting and fostering research into how these kinds of things can be used more effectively." (source)
Types of Wikiversity learning projects 
The Learning Projects Portal provides user-friendly access to Wikiversity learning projects. The Wikiversity community needs to catalog the many types of learning projects and develop resources that promote their development and effective use as learning resources.
Reading and discussion groups 
- Science as Religion
- Hitler's Germany
- Molecular Paleontology Reading Group
- God Gene
- Evolutionary Psychology
Non-conventional courses 
- Wikiversity:Introduction - introduction to editing
- Ruby on Rails website tutorial
- Lesson:Gimp Basics
Projects that find, catalog and review online resources 
Research projects 
See Research Portal
General Community Learning Projects 
- Community service projects - Wikiversity provides scholarly services to Wikimedia sister projects.
- Wikiversity the Movie - community-wide project to produce a promotional video.
- Wikiversity Reports - learn webcasting while reporting on Wikiversity
- Wiki-based learning - The implications of wiki technology for online learning.
- Bibliography and Research Methods - How to find and cite verifiable sources.
- Wikiversity translations - Community service project to support Wikiversity Beta.
- Outreach - collaborations with other institutions and projects.
- Teaching strategies for "learning by doing" activities (part of the "Engines for Educators" book)
Interested persons 
See also 
- Active learning
- Experiential learning
- Learning for doing - is "learning by doing" only suitable in the context of "learning for doing"?
- Wikiversity:Learning resources - how to recognize educational value in a resource.
- Help:Resource types - catalogues descriptively what contributors really produce.
- Wikiversity:Featured - lists many resources which might be considered of higher quality or as good examples of what can be done with Wikiversity. Good for getting ideas about what to do.
R.M. Felder and R. Brent, "Learning by Doing," Chem. Engr. Education, 37(4), 282-283 (2003)
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