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Article of Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2014

Fostering collective and individual learning through knowledge building

Authors: Ke Zhao, Carol K. K. Chan

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to design and examine a computer-supported knowledge-building environment and to investigate both collective knowledge-building dynamics and individual learning in the context of a tertiary education course in mainland China. The participants were 102 students in four intact Year-one tertiary business classes. Two classes experienced a knowledge-building environment (CKB) and the other two were taught using a regular project-based approach (RPBL). Data were obtained from interactions in the forum, writing quality, group-learning portfolios, and surveys. Quantitative analyses indicated that the knowledge-building groups outperformed the comparison groups on academic literacy assessed in terms of conceptual understanding and explanation, and obtained higher scores on beliefs about collaboration. Within-group analyses indicated that the students’ engagement in Knowledge Forum was a significant predictor of their academic literacy. Qualitative contrastive analyses of high- and low-performance groups identified different patterns of conceptual, metacognitive and social processes, and showed that student groups engaging in more collective and meta-discourse discourse moves performed better on individual scores in academic literacy. The implications of examining both collaborative dynamics and individual learning and designing computer-supported knowledge building for tertiary students are discussed.

Keywords: Collaborative knowledge building, Computer-supported inquiry, Academic literacy, Technology-enhanced learning environment, Higher education

Citation: Zhao, K. & Chan, C. K. K. (2014) Fostering collective and individual learning through knowledge building. ijcscl 9 (1), pp. 63-95

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-013-9188-x

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF zhao_chan_9_1.pdf

About this article at springerlink.com [http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11412-013-9188-x] including a link to the official electronic version.