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July 7, 2005
Wikipedia as a learning community: content, conflict, and the ‘common good’
Lawler, Cormac. “Wikipedia as a learning community: content, conflict, and the ‘common good.’” Proceedings of Wikimania 2005. 4-8 Aug. 2005. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikimania05/Paper-CL1#Conclusions. 8 July 2005.
Lawler examines Wikipedia’s potential as a learning community, arguing that the project’s “organization, structure, and modus operandi [are] a learning process.” Theory concerning learning communities and communities of practice provides the framework.
Wikipedia fits the criteria set forth in previous studies of learning communities:
- it sets its own agenda
- it is self-selective
- it is self-perpetuating
Such communities negotiate production through conflict, which the author views as the main potential for learning because it necessitates perspective-taking. During the process of conflict negotiation, contributors are forced to consider each other’s cultural backgrounds and attendant viewpoints, as the included case study demonstrates. (French, American, and Canadian contributors engage in conflict over perceived bias in the study.) Finally, involvement in Wikipedia demands the development and/or exercise of critical thinking abilities.
Posted by kenne329 at July 7, 2005 4:02 PM
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