Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wiki's as a Learning Tool in the Workplace

One of my colleagues who leads the global implementation of learning systems for one of our a large clients asked me recently if we can use Wiki's for learning within an organization. I thought about that for a while and wondered if Wiki's will be appropriate for corporate knowledge sharing. What could be the few reasons why Wiki's might work within an organization.

People seem to enjoy typing a lot. I read that people send over 2.5 Billion emails everyday. We seem to trust information provided by people we know rather than go to a training program and sit through a lot of presentations with superflous information.

Jay Cross recently made the observation in an article in Chief Learning Officer magazine that adults prefer to explore and get to the information they neey quickly rather than go through a lot of superfluous material. I agree with him. Even while preparing for my recent Corporate Finance exam, I found it easier to google the questions and reach a trusted source of information rather than open my text book and go through a 20 page long chapter to find the answer. Over a period of time, I recognized the sources of information I could trust.

I googled to see if any company is testing Wiki's for internal knowledge sharing. Looks like Nokia is testing it. I am sure that there are many tech savvy teams using it effectively within companies. As I mentioned a few days ago, we are using blogs effectively within our company to track the lessons learnt on projects. Blogs have one disadvantage compared to a Wiki. Not all Blog softwares are designed for collaborative editing.

I plan to try out the hosted Wiki provider SocialText. Social Text claims that several customers are using Wiki successfully. I am not very pleased with the look and feel of this service at this time.

We plan to try out Wikis for creating an internal body of knowledge. A custom corporate encyclopedia perhaps. Once we use it for a few weeks, I'll write about how it is working out for us.
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