Using Wikis to Stimulate Collaborative Learning in Interprofessional Nursing Education

Monday, 9 November 2015

Hilde Zitzelsberger, BScN, MSc, PhD, RN
Karen Campbell, BScN, RN
Dorothea Service, BScN, MScN, RN
Otto Sanchez, MD, MSc, PhD
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, ON, Canada

The use of wiki technology fits well in courses that encourage constructive knowledge building and social learning by a community of learners. Pedagogically, wikis have attracted interest in higher education environments as they facilitate the collaborative processes required for developing student group assignments (Carroll, Diaz, Meiklejohn, Newcomb & Adkins, 2013; Collier, 2010; Rasmussen, Lewis & White, 2013; Thompson Martin, 2012).  Collaborative group projects within a wiki environment closely mimic community of practice settings that nursing students will face as future health professionals. Furthermore, the impetus towards interprofessional communication in contemporary healthcare education and practice environments strongly lends to the rationale of employing robust tools, such as wikis, within undergraduate nursing education. Technologically-enabled collaboration integral to wikis may be ideal for modeling and training effective interprofessional communication within interdisciplinary courses focused on interprofessional health care teams (Stephens, Robinson & McGrath, 2013).  In this presentation, we describe our pilot project to assess the implementation of wikis in two online small- and mid-sized elective courses comprised of nursing students in third or fourth year undergraduate levels within interdisciplinary health sciences courses. Despite a number of challenges in the implementation and use of wiki for teachers and learners, our experiences clearly indicated a number of potential advantages. However, there is a need to further develop the pedagogical use of wiki environments before they can be expected to support collaboration among undergraduate nursing students. A key insight gleaned from our project is the fundamental need to invest in the process of creating an effective wiki learning environment in order to facilitate meaningful educational student experiences.  Adapting wiki implementation to suitable well-matched courses will make adaptation of wikis into nursing curricula more effective and may increase the chances that nursing students will hone the collaborative abilities that are essential in their future professional roles in interprofessional communities of practice. The STOLEN approach (Foord, 2007) is a systematic approach to wiki implementation, and will be discussed to more effectively facilitate the use of wikis into nursing curricula and increase the chances that students will engage positively in ways that will make them consider using wikis in future virtual collaborative endeavors as health professionals.