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The power of the group: Using wikis in corporate training

Corporate employees are tired of conference calls. Whether it’s cameras on or off, from home or the office, Zoom fatigue got to most of us by now. Managers find it increasingly difficult to get team members to participate and also have productive input during these sessions.

Read more: Top 5 ways L&D professionals can avoid Zoom fatigue

According to behavioral science, the difficulty comes from something called group awareness (GA). In a social setting, we are programmed to rely on our ability to understand other group members. We look for information regarding who we’re working with and how we are working with others. Most importantly, we do this to complete tasks successfully. These social cues are very hard to read in online meetings or interactive training courses. In other words, we’re getting very tired of trying to figure out others.

Read more: 4 Tips for holding live training sessions via Zoom

Wikis are engaging and easier to navigate

Wikipedia is the most popular wiki out there. However, it’s not the only one. A wiki is “a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience directly using a web browser.”

You can set up wikis whenever there’s a topic or a skill that team members should acquire. People can collaborate to get a better collective understanding of the content or move forward with the task. They can do this asynchronously and still help each other with clarifications, constructive questions, and fact-checking.

According to this study, wikis produced easier-to-digest and more engaging content than a premade online course. Basically, wikis allow users to have ownership of the content, leading to exponentially higher engagement rates.

Advantages of using wikis in corporate training (and one small disadvantage)

Using wikis in corporate training encourages learners to collaborate and build a collective understanding of important knowledge. Of course, this comes in handy when team members work together since they have that solid foundation. Read on to find out more about other benefits (and a slight disadvantage).

Wikis encourage social interaction

The social aspect of wikis appeals to learners who often work from home and crave group interactions. An active wiki group is very similar to a Facebook discussion thread or a Twitter feed. The best part is that you can even insert a wiki into an already existing group, forum, social learning platform, or even your learning management system.

Read more: How to design a great social learning experience for remote learners with an LMS

Wikis are conductive of metacognition

Thinking about thinking is one of the best ways to develop your brain and create new cognitive pathways. It’s also excellent training for neuroplasticity. Coming up with new ideas and thinking about other people’s ideas encourages reflection. As a result, learners find a lot more about their own level of knowledge and mastery on any given topic.

Wikis enable asynchronous learning

This is a big perk for many learners who find it hard to be online at a specific time to connect with their colleagues. As global teams with members in different time zones are on the rise, it certainly takes a toll on those who have to log in the dead of the night or very early in the morning. Wikis can be accessed at any time, and people can contribute when they want to.

Read more: Exploring 5 types of asynchronous training

Wikis encourage a growth mindset

Many organizations strive to develop a growth mindset to become more innovative and have better results. This type of mindset is also beneficial to employee engagement and happiness. Using wikis as learning tools encourages individuals to see the process as a journey, learn from mistakes, use setbacks as stepping stones and continuously improve the content.

Read more: Why having a growth mindset is the basis for learning and development

You can’t force people to contribute to wikis

A big downside of wikis is that not all members will be equally engaged. Some will prefer to simply use the content and won’t feel the need to give their feedback. They still learn something, but their input will be non-existent.

Closing thoughts

In the age of Zoom fatigue and employees being reluctant to interact with e-learning content, L&D specialists and instructional designers need to keep their options open and find new ways of deploying training programs. Wikis have enormous potential and should definitely be considered as an alternative to more conventional methods.

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