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Abstract

From its humble beginnings, wikis have evolved in both business organizations and educational institutions, catering to, among other uses, training and education. The current work examines wikis in the context of collaborative learning project teams and aims to address a visible gap in research. Much previous work is but prescriptive guidelines and self reflections. While attempts exist in dealing with some assessments of wiki-related teams, these works chiefly use shortterm teams and place their emphasis on merely outcomes. We advocate examination of mature teams as well as the interaction processes that happen while teams operate. The current study pays attention to four inputs highlighted as salient previously: learners’ prior wiki experience, instructor's support, age and gender. It offers in-depth understanding of wiki effectiveness in collaborative learning environments, operationalized using project teams. A theoretical model is developed using the lens of the functional perspective, proposing wikis to positively affect learning outcomes of academic achievement, self-reported learning, process satisfaction, positive social environment and a sense of community, through the processes of task-related and socioemotional activities. The model posits that the inputs will enhance these activities. Tested using two separate wikis (Mediawiki and Confluence) over a protracted period of one semester, our findings show strong support for wiki effectiveness, contributing to research areas including wikis and small groups. With sound basis, the paper puts forth a framework for conceptualizing the notion of levels in segregating wiki systems, permitting derivation of implications for wiki dedevelopment and instructional use.

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