Learning to become an online editor: the editathon as a learning environment

Littlejohn, Allison; Hood, Nina; Rehm, Martin; McGill, Lou; Rienties, Bart and Highton, Melissa (2021). Learning to become an online editor: the editathon as a learning environment. Interactive Learning Environments, 29(8) pp. 1258–1271.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2019.1625557


This study explores Wikipedia as a site for learning. In particular it traces how people learn to become Wikipedia editors through engagement in an editathon, a training event for people who want to become a volunteer editor. The study is original in its emphasis on the various types of knowledge editors acquire as they develop expertise. Determining the knowledge needed to contribute to Wikipedia is significant in terms of understanding Wikipedia as a site for learning. Data was gathered from nine participants who took part in an ‘editathon’ event on the theme of the Edinburgh Seven. The study used a rigorous methodology, combining quantitative social network analysis, documenting the online activity of participants as they created and edited Wikipedia pages, with qualitative interviews, which recorded participants reflections on their participation in the editathon. A key finding is that conceptual and procedural knowledge are representative of the foundational knowledge needed to contribute to Wikipedia actively as an editor. However, this knowledge on its own is not sufficient. Editors also develop socio-cultural and relational knowledge forms of knowledge to enable them to operate and problem-solve effectively. The relationship between the physical and the digital is important, since socio-cultural and relational knowledge are developed through active experimentation as the editathon engage with physical objects to create the online wiki pages.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions



  • Item ORO ID
  • 59450
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1744-5191
  • Keywords
  • professional learning; social network; social media; online editing; Wikipedia environment
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Research Group
  • OpenTEL
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
  • Depositing User
  • Allison Littlejohn