Finding the Right Balance: A Reply to Jones’ Research on Building Communities of Practice Using a Wiki

Jennifer Lock


Are we expecting too much from a wiki? Reflecting on her lived experience of using a wiki in a graduate course, Jones shared a number of insights with regard to the capacity of using such technology in support of learning in a community of practice context. As she examined her experience and benefits, Jones identified tensions that impacted the social and communal aspects of what was shared in the wiki; she also explored the level of rigour that influenced the reliability of the content. Jones argued that wikis have potential in supporting the development of a community of practice only if specific social elements are addressed. As we reflect on our perceptions and expectations of developing and fostering learning through an online community approach, we need to carefully consider the balance between the affordance of the technology and the preparedness of students in terms of collaborative learning in community to foster knowledge building. “Use of the technology does not spontaneously cause communities to occur; communities of leaners must be planned” (Moller, 1993, p. 120).

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