Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche     
Trentin G. An approach to evaluating contributions to wiki-based collaborative writing in an informal learning context. Bocconi S, Trentin G (eds.). Hauppauge, NY, USA: Nova Science Publishers Inc., 2012.
In the context of so-called Network-Enhanced Informal Learning (NEIL), the ways in which network technologies can support and improve informal learning processes are currently under study. One of the specific topics addressed is how to integrate formal and informal learning processes and render them complementary. A possible approach is the creation of conditions for grafting the typical dynamics of informal learning (e.g. professional problem-solving) onto formal educational situations, particularly favouring those centred on social interaction within the professional communities of practices. Although it is relatively simple to recreate these dynamics, it is not so simple to understand how to measure their effects in terms of: (a) each individual group member's active and tangible contribution to the interactions and collaborative productions; (b) the learning which these dynamics produce in the community members. A connected goal in this context is in fact to understand how formal reward for performance (learning credits, professional and/or economic rewards, etc.) is to be attributed. In this sense, the chapter aims to illustrate and discuss a methodology which enables evaluation of the collaborative learning process based on professional co-writing in a wiki environment. After considering the effectiveness of co-writing as a peer-learning strategy, the chapter will highlight issues regarding methods for evaluating each group member's contribution to the collaborative process and to the group's overall action. An approach will be discussed to address the problem. It is based upon the elaboration of information traced automatically by wiki, employing survey grids and formulae to calculate participation and contribution indexes. These tools will be illustrated together with their application in an informal learning situation within a professional community made up of head physicians and health care managers. The experiment has shown how the combined use of techniques for content and network analysis, applied both to the interactions between community members and to the lattice structure of the wiki, provides a variety of useful information for evaluation purposes.
Subject wiki, informal learning, social software, collaborative writing

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