What is Wikipedia? Online Listening Practice

50-minute English Lesson

This online listening practice lesson asks, What’s Wikipedia. Get the answer by completing the reading and listening activities.

Online Listening Practice Wikipedia story
Wikipedia provides free information but is it always accurate?

Read the story

Wikipedia

Wikipedia gets about 13 million visitors per day. It’s a huge success and a quick source of information available in many languages. The way Wikipedia operates today is, however, quite different from its original intent.

The history of Wikipedia goes back to 2001.

Jimmy Wales had a website called Nupedia. It was designed to be a free online encyclopedia. According to the original plan, its articles would be written by volunteers who were experts in different fields. In order to produce correct information, each article had to pass seven steps of review.

All that checking caused a problem. It was slow. During the first year, only 12 articles were posted online.

One evening, Jimmy met two people who had an idea to make Nupedia better: build a new website with wiki software. A wiki lets people collaborate online to create and change articles. The word wiki comes from the native language in Hawaii and means quick.

Jimmy liked the idea. He thought wiki articles could be checked and later added to Nupedia. In other words, the wiki would support his primary website, Nupedia.

Well, that idea soon changed.

In January 2001, Wikipedia was online. In the first seven months, it had 10,000 articles. By the end of the first year, there were 20,000 articles with another 1500 added every month. Wikipedia was a success. In 2003, Nupedia was shut down. By 2015, Wikipedia had 36 million articles in 291 languages.

Funding for Wikipedia comes from public donations. There are no advertisements. According to a 2014 report, Wikipedia has an annual budget of about $58 million, which includes $2 million for internet hosting.

Wikipedia is a success in many ways. And it all started as a small project that grew into a global brand supported by volunteers around the world.

Listen without reading the story

Online Listening Practice

Audio

Here is the listening file for this lesson.

Listening level: 4
Audio file: 2:28 min
Story length: 299 words
Online Listening Practice Wikipedia story listen and complete the free activities
Libraries have their own charms which you can’t get with Wikipedia

Quiz: Wikipedia

Did you understand the story?

Let's check with a True-False quiz.

English listening lesson: Gap Fill

Listen to the ESL story again and fill in the blanks.

Wikipedia gets about ______ __________ visitors per day. It’s a huge success and a quick source of information __________ in many languages. The way Wikipedia __________ today is, however, quite different from its original __________ .

The history of Wikipedia goes back to 2001.

Jimmy Wales had a __________ called Nupedia. It was designed to be a free online __________ . According to the original plan, its articles would be written by __________ who were experts in different fields. In order to produce __________ information, each article had to pass __________ steps of review.

All that checking __________ a problem. It was slow. During the first year, only 12 articles were __________ online.

One __________ , Jimmy met two people who had an idea to make Nupedia better: build a new website with wiki __________ . A wiki lets people __________ online to create and change articles. The word wiki comes from the __________ language in Hawaii and means quick.

Jimmy liked the idea. He __________ wiki articles could be checked and later added to Nupedia. In other words, the wiki would support his __________ website, Nupedia.

Well, that idea soon changed.

In January 2001, Wikipedia was online. In the first seven months, it had __________ articles. By the end of the first year, there were __________ articles with another 1500 added __________ month. Wikipedia was a success. In 2003, Nupedia was shut down. By __________ , Wikipedia had 36 million articles in __________ languages.

Funding for Wikipedia comes from public __________ . There are no advertisements. According to a 2014 report, Wikipedia has an __________ budget of about $ __________ million, which includes $2 million for internet hosting.

Wikipedia is a success in many ways. And it all started as a small __________ that grew into a global __________ supported by volunteers around the world.

ESL discussion questions

Talk about the esl story.

  1. What kind of story is this?
  2. Inventions often start with a problem. What was the problem in this story?
  3. Describe the early days of Wikipedia and its forerunner.
  4. What factors helped make Wikipedia a financial success?
  5. Is Wikipedia reliable?
  6. Do you have a favourite site for accurate information?

Synonym match

MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.

1. intent
2. primary
3. donation
4. budget
5. field
a. principal
b. contribution
c. fiscal estimate
d. area of expertise
e. aim

ESL listening activity: anagrams

MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE Listening for ESL students.

  1. BVLILAEAA
  2. DESCAU
  3. YAIPRMR
  4. UCIPLB
  5. DABRN
  6. LIINMLO

Writing practice

Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.

  1. from / comes / for / Wikipedia / public / funding / donations
  2. to / wiki / change / and / lets / a / online / collaborate / articles / people / create
  3. according / experts / written / original / articles / to / be / its / who / the / plan / would / were / different / in / volunteers / by / fields
  4. Wikipedia / about / per / million / 13 / visitors / day / gets
  5. were / articles / by / first / with / month / every / the / there / year / another / of / end / 20000 / 1500 / the / added

Another ESL listening story

Ready for another listening lesson? Try this free online lesson about Uber.

Watch a video

online listening practice

Did you like this online listening practice lesson about Wikipedia? Let’s do a listening and note-taking exercise.

  1. Watch this video – it describes the secret formula to make Coke.
  2. Take notes.
  3. Write down at least eight facts.

Get the worksheet

Want to print out these ESL listening activities? Click to download the PDF worksheet.

Image Credit

Use of the Wikipedia image in this ESL 50-minute lesson complies with the owner’s Creative Commons license.

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