Wikiversity:The original learning model
The Wikiversity model
The goal of some Wikiversity participants is to create a vast collection of learning materials to be downloaded and used in physical schools and for self-study. For other participants the goal is to evaluate and provide feedback for students and teachers on how various educational resources fulfill their needs.
At Wikiversity educational resources are called "learning resources" and are roughly divided into learning projects and learning materials. The approved Wikiversity project proposal developed in response to a request by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees also included learning groups. A slogan that captures the intent of the Wikiversity model is "Learning by doing".
Wikiversity attracts participation by developing exciting learning projects for people to engage in their interests. People learn about topics by participating in learning projects and by contributing to the development of learning materials. Learning materials are accumulated as a by-product of learning projects. For example, you can learn about wikis by participating in the Wiki learning project and the development of learning materials can help to improve your understanding of wiki technology.
Wikipedia allows anyone to create articles for rapid development of an encyclopedia. Nupedia was too slow to develop an encyclopedia because only experts could create articles. Similarly, Wikiversity does not require you to wait while experts create lessons. Wikiversity invites you to explore your personal interests by participating in learning communities. Most people want to learn, but few "teachers" have time to participate at Wikiversity. Consequently you play a major role in the development of learning resources at Wikiversity.
You are free to develop learning resources using almost any approach you want. You can stimulate and facilitate learning by collaborating with other participants to create and develop learning resources. Wikiversity is a wiki. Wikiversity encourages you to explore how wiki technology can best be used to promote and support learning. Wikiversity recommends the development of topic-specific learning communities within the greater Wikiversity learning community. "Learning by doing" means to actively learn by sharing what you know and learning from what others share. "Learning by doing" reminds us to invest in activities that actively engages learners. Wikiversity learning projects should be intellectually stimulating activities that invite learners to become Wikiversity mentors. Education done the wiki way.
The student experience
The new student of a subject is an "expert" in a narrow field: the student knows, better than anyone else, which concepts within the subject material are difficult to learn. Thus, a student who is struggling is encouraged to edit the subject material to expand it to cover the difficult material in more detail. A student who has mastered a concept after a struggle is encouraged to edit the material to make it clearer: such a student is much more of an expert in the clarity of the material than the original author.
Education classes in a typical university
The purpose of Education itself as a topic of study is to get students to start transferring their ideas of being a student into those of an educator, to be on the other side of the desk. Education classes in a university typically follow the progression of pre-methods -> methods -> student teaching. Pre-methods classes are designed around educational theory and observation, acclimatizing the student to the process necessary to see education for its methods rather than just the content. Methods classes build on this concept while drawing the student deeper into the process of how students think and what methods are effective in bringing about understanding.
Classes in 'methods blocks' typically include a class on elementary or secondary observation/teaching method, a class on technology, another on classroom management or multiculturalism, and a class on a specific subject area. Once the student has demonstrated proficiency in these classes, they are moved on to a student teaching placement, the practical experience. This full semester of teaching is designed to be as close to the real thing as is possible within the law. Students that survive the semester and have shown to be thoughtful and effective educators are passed on for certification in the jurisdiction in which they did their program.
While Wikiversity cannot provide such an experience for those wanting to learn about education, it is a great opportunity to gain some insights and skills about the process before pursuing an accredited program in education. It is important to keep in mind that education often doesn't have a 'right' answer all the time. More often than not there is a political side to it and education is more than just serving up facts, it's a process that is supposed to last a lifetime.
On the other hand, in its capacity as alternate educational facility, Wikiversity can provide prospective teachers with questions, creative writing exercises, and readings that are not found in Education departments, or indeed in most teaching methods courses at time of writing. These materials will encourage the prospective teacher to think about her/himself as a performer who uses realtime, and what performance artists call "the heat of the real" to engage students in the experience of meaning.
Wikis call for challenges to the design of learning - see James (2004)
In order to help students with their work I have developed a website to provide free advice/help for students - www.studentnoticeboard.com it is fully editable and allows students to share information in one easy to use portal.
Wiki websites facilitate collaborative webpage editing. Building on the collaborative aspect of wikis, Wikiversity is a place for exploration of all types of collaborative "learn by doing" projects. See: Wiki as a tool for learning, Sandbox Server.
The page Wikiversity:learning models draws together the many pages, contributions and alternative views produced on this topic since the original learning model was produced. In particular, resources at Wikiversity:learning models reflect on the actual experiences of learning and content creation at Wikiversity - experiences which were not available when this model was produced. The most active centre for current discussion of Wikiversity learning models is Wikiversity:Developing Wikiversity through action research.
- James, H. (2004) My brilliant failure: wikis in classrooms, May 21st 2004
- Wikiversity course formats - in search of formats that are well-suited for the wiki user interface
- Wikiversity:Learning resources
Humanities · Physical Sciences · Life Sciences · Practical Arts and Sciences · Mathematics · Computer Science · Engineering and Technology · Interdisciplinary Studies · Social Sciences · Education · Media · Professions · Learning Projects · Learning Materials · Research · Informatics · Other portals
- WikEd is a wiki operated by the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It contains a great deal of education-related information.
- WikiEducator is another developing resource, which may be of help.
- Journal of Computer Mediated Communication
- Journal of Interactive Online Learning
- Seymour Papert's website - children using computers as instruments for learning
- "E-Learning" from the M/Cyclopedia of New Media
- British Education Index (free version)
- British Education Internet Resource
- Educators' Reference Desk