Social Media & Collaborative Knowledge Building

Strategies & Challenges in using Social Media

The UBC Masters of Educational Technology program is a strong collaborative environment for learning. One collaboration tool that is emphasized is the Wiki. Although I am a fan of using Wikis, I can’t say that I find collaborating within them intuitive or easy. One thing that I’ve noticed is that it really helps to make use of the discussion page to describe your thoughts on what you have changed or what you think still needs more work.

Working with Wikis is something that takes a lot of practice to get good at. It takes some amount of confidence to go in and modify someone elses work without first getting their permission to do so. By virtue of working within a Wiki you give others permission to modify your work but it is still a little uncomfortable for me.

I thought it would be good to share the top strategies that we came up with as part of one of my classes for the benefit of anyone thinking about incorporating social media into their Community of Practice. These were developed over a week within a group Wiki and demonstrate the potential for the tool to support collaborative knowledge building. I have tailored some of the points to adapt them to CoPs rather than just academic learning environments.

5 Strategies for using Social Media

  1. Enhance a lesson by reaching learners through a multitude of learning styles; for instance, visual, tactile, and auditory
  2. Capitalizing on the way that learners already communicate during their daily lives and use social media to enhance their learning.
  3. Utilize the wisdom of the entire group to progress collectively to a greater destination than what they could have achieved on their own.
  4. Research other training uses of social media to determine the advantages of field tested group learning techniques.
  5. Teach digital etiquette. Discuss public identity management and the appropriate time and use of technology, privacy, copyright, and flame wars.

5 Key Challenges in using Social Media:

  1. Navigating through copyright and plagiarism issues and how these issues apply to the read/write digital culture
  2. Supporting learners with limited computer and/or internet access at home or in work so that they are not marginalized
  3. Providing another platforms to network while yielding sufficient training outcomes without negatively impacting individual learning goals
  4. Ensuring social media sites terms of service and corporate privacy policies are followed and kept apprise of by the CoP’s administration team.
  5. Navigating the legal, social and organizational ramifications of using social media between learner and teacher.

If you are interested in developing a Wiki to build knowledge within your Community of Practice then you might want to check out:

If anyone has a Wiki platform that they would like to share – please leave a comment and I will add the site to the technology page.

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