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  • Special Issue: E-learning in the Disciplines of Economics and Business Studies
  • Open Access

Learning by comparing with Wikipedia: the value to students’ learning

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201411:11020055

  • Received: 15 November 2013
  • Accepted: 15 February 2014
  • Published:


The main purpose of this research work is to describe and evaluate a learning technique that actively uses Wikipedia in an online master’s degree course in Statistics. It is based on the comparison between Wikipedia content and standard academic learning materials. We define this technique as ‘learning by comparing’. In order to evaluate the performance of this learning technique, data from different academic semesters was collected. Through different hypothesis tests, the academic performance of the students following a learning-by-comparing strategy is compared with the case where Wikipedia is not used.

Additionally, during the course the students are asked about the reliability, currentness, completeness and usefulness of Wikipedia, as rated on a 5-point Likert scale. This data is used to analyse the perceived quality of Wikipedia, for each statistical concept of the course, and to discover its relationship with academic performance. To that end, descriptive statistics, dependence tests, and contrasts of means have been performed.


  • e-Learning
  • higher education
  • Wikipedia
  • academic performance
  • quality