I have critiqued the wiki revolution (see posts in 2005 and in 2006) because I worried about the garbage-in garbage-out problem. That is, how can consumers of wikized information know whether the information is valid? Previously, the knowledge culture has relied on editors, peer-reviewers, and publishers to vet information prior to publication.

Wikipedia has come to recognize this problem and is taking steps to lessen it. See their WikiProject Fact and Reference Check webpage. As you browse Wikipedia today, you’ll often see pages marked with the warning, "This [entry] does not adequately cite its references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources."

This is a great first step. Whether it is enough, we will see. It probably depends on the topic area discussed.

And to be balanced, we must recognize that any influence can tilt content toward one truth or another, whether that influence is an editor or an admonition to cite reliable sources. Therefore, my next recommendation is to formalize alternative interpretations within wiki technology and practice. The wiki interface sometimes formalizes and encourages a "one-truth" paradigm, so where one truth is inadequate, the technology needs to encourage a different sort of mental model, one that allows information consumers to feel the heat, sweat, and uncertainty of the truth-building process.

March 2, 2007

Hello. This is Will Thalheimer.

Today I announce the end of Work-Learning Research as my full-time employment. After nine years of engaging my personal quixotic quest, the pragmatist inside me has ripped control from out of the crusty iron hands of the eternal optimist. To put it simply, the financial return is too meager and unreliable to sustain a sensible family.

It’s been a great journey—from the warm euphoric beginning in the summer 1998 to the harsh winter days of 2007—I’ll never regret taking that first step.

The good news is that I am not yet dead, nor are my ambitions diminished. As of today, Work-Learning Research has become a beloved hobby. I’ll work on it in the dark quiet of night, while my daughter naps, while vacuuming the dirt and debris from the floor, while listening from a distance to the voices of the radio elites. For now, I intend to keep my blog (www.willatworklearning.com) and the Work-Learning Research website (www.work-learning.com) up and running, contributing new information when I can.

My Job Search

My first priority today is to find a great job. If you know of my work and you’re willing to advocate on my behalf, I’d like your help. If you know of an organization that could leverage my talents, let me know or let them know of me. Send me an email.

Here’s what I’m looking for: A senior, high-profile position (in New England, New York, or virtually accessible) with the authority, budget, and thoughtful colleagues to think afresh about learning-and-performance challenges. I’d love a place where I can be entrepreneurial, whether in a small or large organization, building value by combining my multiple backgrounds as a learning expert, researcher, instructional designer, business strategist, manager, marketer, speaker, writer, and visionary. I want to build something that works.

In the next few months as I look for a job, I’ll be finishing research that was previously commissioned. I’ll be speaking at conferences, leading workshops, and completing my commitments to my clients. I’ll also be working to expand on a paper I’ve just written on how to maximize learning with audience response systems—and to build it into a book (a book with great potential to improve classroom learning at all levels by helping instructors use questioning strategies to support higher-level learning).

If you know me well, you’ll know that to put Work-Learning Research on the back burner has not been easy. But it’s done now, and I’m ready to engage the next challenge.

You can access my resume by clicking below.

Download Will_Thalheimer_Resume_2007.pdf