Wiki as a way forward?
The internet has become a much more interactive and ‘social’ medium in recent years. Collaborative content created in the form of wikis has grown significantly. However, these simple web articles are often inaccessible to users from hard-to-reach community groups, who generally have little internet experience.
KnowHow NonProfit is running a new project looking at the potential benefits of wikis and collaborative content creation for individuals and organisations within the voluntary and community sector in the UK.
Peer-to-peer, social learning
KnowHow NonProfit is a Big Lottery-funded initiative that delivers online guidance and learning resources for the voluntary sector – with a particular emphasis on peer-to-peer, social learning. It has already successfully established a series of wikiable ‘how-to’ guides for the sector. These were produced in a response to clear user needs and have proved to be successful, in terms of both usefulness and usability.
Now project organisers are interested in exploring how they might turn other learning materials into engaging and self-sustaining wikis, managed and maintained by their users. This would increase the level of participation by learners in the development of their own learning resources as well as encourage knowledge sharing.
Engaging and user-focused
KnowHow NonProfit is hoping to demonstrate when and how the wiki model of web publishing might be appropriate for developing and maintaining user-focused web guidance material for the voluntary sector – and how people might engage with it.
To do this, the project will turn a trial selection of ‘expert-written’ web content into wikis that can then be developed and maintained by anyone working in the voluntary sector. With financial support from Nominet Trust, it is initially working on three subject areas – starting up a non-profit organisation, public services delivery and collaboration.
If successful, KnowHow NonProfit will draft guidelines on how the wiki model can be expanded and successfully applied to other areas of web content, and how users can be recruited and engaged to work with it.