Learning patterns/Help new editors learn Wikimarkup

A learning pattern forEducation
Help new editors learn Wikimarkup
problemNew editors or students are making many mistakes with Wiki markup.
solutionHelp new editors or students who are having trouble learning Wiki markup by giving them simpler editing tasks or examples of good articles they can use for reference.
creatorKHarold (WMF)
created on7 January, 2015

What problem does this solve?


Learning how to use Wiki markup can be difficult or take longer for some new editors to master during workshops. In classroom programs, students may make mistakes with Wiki markup because it is just one of many learning objectives that they must focus on.

What is the solution?


New editors or students can still contribute valuable content to Wikimedia projects without a strong understanding of Wiki markup. By starting on simple tasks or working in teams, new editors will be able to contribute content and see how Wiki markup works without having to use it.

Start with easier editing tasks.

  • Identify new editors who are making frequent mistakes or do not understand Wiki markup.
  • Give them tasks that do not require using Wiki markup such as translation.
  • Pair editors who have difficulty with Wiki markup with another editor who can help format content after it has been written or translated.
  • If writing a new article or expanding a stub is too difficult, have the editor work on Wiktionary or copyediting.

Give new editors examples of good articles that they can reference for format and Wiki markup.

Use interactive training
  • The Wikipedia Adventure(WPA): The WPA is an interactive one-hour game that takes new editors through several editing tasks while teaching users how to use talk pages, create a user pages and more. It has been localized in Catalan.
  • Education program leaders have reported that the Wikipedia Adventure is appealing to secondary school students aged 13 to 18, but is also suitable for new editors of any age.

General considerations

  • Look out for participants in classes, workshops and editathons who are not making any edits at all. They may not be editing because they do not understand Wiki markup, they are not sure what to edit, or they are scared of making a mistake.
  • Consider whether participants can use the visual editor rather than the wikitext editor. This can make wiki markup unnecessary for writing articles. (However, new users may still need to learn wiki markup in order to edit talk pages.)

When to use

Translation Projects for Younger Students
Wikimedia Armenia has found their "Translators Corner" program is popular with students. "The program identifies existing articles that need improvement, and provides links to well written articles on the same topic but in other languages. Students sign up to edit the articles by updating them with translations from the identified sources."[1]
Wikipedia Adventure for Teacher Training
Wikimedia Sweden has used the Wikipedia Adventure in a teacher training session and noted that it was difficult to do as a group activity, because they had to wait for workshop participants to complete each task before moving on. They recommend introducing WPA to groups, but ask that people go through the game individually.

See also

Education Toolkit Learning Pattern
This learning pattern is part of the Education Program Toolkit.
Go to the toolkit.

Creating new articles: how to walk a new user through the first steps of starting an article.

Worklists for editathons: help new editors get started by providing a list or articles to work on.

New users are afraid of doing something wrong

You are teaching, but are they learning?


Wiki Markup Cheat Sheet in Galacian, Catalan, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian