ASTD Learning Lab Wikis

While some (including yours truly) have been speaking about the ASTD convention and the lack of Web 2.0 technologies used there and by the organization (membership) itself, I am reminded that ASTD did establish a number of wikis to be used during their Learning Labs that were conducted on Monday and Tuesday at the conference.

I attended one of these, the one for University Instructors and Professors (hey, I adjunct at NYU, don’t I?). Of the three people who showed up for the face-to-face session, nobody changed anything on the wiki. Ironically, in bright red text, the instructions on each page of the wiki stated

Please leave existing text on pages intact.

Doesn’t that contradict what wikis are all about, namely to foster interactive content creation and sharing? Take a look at the wikis, most of which do not have any changes or edits or anything done to them.¬† I wonder if this is because people did not know what to do with these? Did not know they were there? Followed the directions quite literally? Did not care?

I am not sure, but am wondering if these should not be revisited and used TO PREPARE for next year’s convention? I think if ASTD did more to foster community among convention attendees going into the event, then that may help people strengthen them during and continue well after the event.

I am definitely considering some ideas to submit for next year. Hmmmmm.

Wiki 101 at Northern Voice Internet Bootcamp

Stewart Mader is presenting on Wiki 101 during the nv08 Internet Bootcamp. Somebody asked him about what a wiki is, and he quoted a Business Week article that discussed various purposes of wikis. He mentioned that organizations are often hesitant to using wikis since there is fear about open access with rights.

Organizations can use wikis for keeping and updating agenda items, posting meeting minutes, and team participation with ownership of maintaining and revising content.

Stewart then spoke about a number of wiki tools and programs. I wish he would have had the names of the programs written on a slide or on the blackboard since I could not keep up with all them. I did catch wikimatrix.org, which helps people and organizations select which wiki tools to use.

He suggested running a pilot within organizations when bringing a new tool. Get a few people to begin using a tool and then spread it with a small group. This reminded me of the work in some of the quality and practice improvement work I do in my full-time position.

Wikis, to work, should begin with a BarnRaising so everybody begins together with using the new tool. This seems to be very collaborative, but my experience is that many people within organizations want the work to get done and assume others are “assigned” to do it.

He is using a number of “patterns” of wiki adoption, or rather terms that are used to describe the successful implementation of the wiki within an organization.

“If your staff is doing all this, then what value are you bringing to the organization.” If this is the case, then it seems that level of middle management is not valuable or really needed. This was in reply to a question I had about motivating hierarchical organizations to share in the collaborative environment of wikis. This is similar to the challenges of implementing and using knowledge management applications within organizations.

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