Towards a Knowledge Building Community: From Guided to Self-Organized Inquiry
Over four academic years a design experiment was conducted involving four online university courses with the goal of shifting from Guided to Self-Organized Inquiry to foster Knowledge Building communities in the classroom. Quantitative analyses focused on notes contributed to collective knowledge spaces, as well as reading and building-on notes of others. All team members, including teachers, contributed at high levels. Students tended to produce more notes in the guided-inquiry approach but read more and demonstrated more even distribution of work as part of self-organized inquiry. Qualitative data focused on strategies students reported as new to their school experience. Strategies fell into three categories common to both guided and self-organizing inquiry: elaborating course content for depth of understanding, collaboration in an online environment, and metacognition, with greater reflection on idea development. Distinctive aspects of self-organized inquiry, according to student reports, included going beyond given information, linking new understandings and personal experiences, attention to the collective works of the community, and learning from instructor’s strategies.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.