Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5.3.2: Wikis in the latest JOLT

The latest Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT, 6[1]) is now available online (not a dedicated link - to the latest issue only). Three articles on wikis further the conversation [1 PDF] [2 PDF] [3 PDF]... but not, admittedly, by much! A pity that none of them consider learning outcomes using an experimental approach, which, I am convinced, the literature regarding the use of wikis in higher education actually requires. We have far too many of the 'What did students think?' evaluation; what we really need is an answer to how well did students learn? The studies also have small response rates and discrete surveys... which is not atypical in much e-learning research. This has the unfortunate consequence of results being highly contextualised and very fragmented.

It is perhaps indicative that we tend to give e-learning tools a go from our enthusiasm, rather than from a consideration of the lessons already learned; the literature review is performed after the evaluation to provide a context for what we did rather than what we will do. This approach is perhaps understandable from the standpoint of encouraging innovation, but it is a poor basis for research. I have no doubt that the authors of these papers learned a lot. As a reader, I'm left a little disappointed!

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