Integrating Wikipedia editing into health professions education: a curricular inventory and review of the literature

Jennifer E. Dawson
John M. Willinsky
Joseph A. Costello
Lauren A. Maggio
Nadine A. Skinner
Paolo C. Martin
Soort article
Critical appraisal,
Evidence-based medicine,
Verscheen in

Introduction Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia read by millions seeking medical information. To provide health professions students with skills to critically assess, edit, and improve Wikipedia’s medical content, a skillset aligned with evidence-based medicine (EBM), Wikipedia courses have been integrated into health professions schools’ curriculum. This literature review and curricular inventory of Wikipedia educational initiatives provides an overview of current approaches and identifies directions for future initiatives and research.

Methods Five databases were searched for articles describing educational interventions to train health professional students to edit Wikipedia. Course dashboards, maintained by Wiki Education (Wiki Edu), were searched for curricular materials. From these sources, key details were extracted and synthesized, including student and instructor type, course content, educational methods, and student outcomes.

Results Six articles and 27 dashboards reported courses offered between 2015 and 2019. Courses were predominantly offered to medical and nursing students. Instructors delivered content via videos, live lectures, and online interactive modules. Course content included logistics of Wikipedia editing, EBM skills, and health literacy. All courses included assignments requiring students to edit Wikipedia independently or in groups. Limited details on assessment of student learning were available.

Discussion A small but growing number of schools are training health professions education students to improve Wikipedia’s medical content. Course details are available on Wiki Edu dashboards and, to a lesser extent, in peer-reviewed publications.


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