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TWiki for knowledge building and management

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to report on a study examining the effectiveness of TWiki, an open-source online collaborative groupware, in facilitating students' co-construction of knowledge in their group work. The paper focuses on the groupware's impact on knowledge management, in terms of knowledge creation, capture, sharing and transfer. It also discusses some of the obstacles faced by students in using the software and how these can be addressed. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In this study, TWiki was used in structuring the knowledge-building environment for group projects in an undergraduate course on knowledge management. Students created a chapter for a wikibook. Wiki templates were designed for the course to help with the organisation of contents in TWiki. A questionnaire and individual interviews were used to collect student opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of using the wiki software for their projects. Findings ‐ Overall, students were generally positive about the effectiveness of TWiki in facilitating their group projects. In particular, TWiki was seen to improve group collaboration and work quality, and as a useful tool for knowledge management in terms of knowledge creation, capture, sharing and transfer. Research limitations/implications ‐ With its ability to improve student collaboration as well as their quality of work, TWiki can clearly be a suitable tool for collaborative constructive learning such as group projects. However, the study also showed that students and teachers should be adequately trained to use the tool in order to maximise its benefits. Some features of TWiki have to be improved and technical difficulties need to be fixed for easy use. Further studies could focus on using TWiki in different subjects and in classes of different sizes. Originality/value ‐ There were several important outcomes of the study: first, the comparison between students' perceptions of TWiki and MS Word in terms of usability and effectiveness; second, the findings with regard to improvement of work quality in small group size, which are unique; and third, TWiki was found to be an effective knowledge management tool.
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Keywords: Internet; Knowledge creation; Knowledge management; Search engines

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-11-21

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