June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.383.1 - 24.383.15
Developing a Learner-Centered Classroom Through Collaborative Knowledge BuildingResearch from the learning sciences indicates that success in the knowledge economyrequires graduates to possess integrated and usable knowledge with a deep understandingof complex concepts; the ability to work creatively with ideas to generate new theories,products, and knowledge; the skills to communicate and participate in discourse; and thecapacity to engage in lifelong learning. Knowledge building, as developed by Bereiterand Scardamalia, is a potentially transformative pedagogical approach that has beendeveloped to meet this educational need. In knowledge building students participate in aninteractive discourse (typically recorded asynchronously in a virtual workspace calledKnowledge Forum) in which they work together to broaden ideas, reformulate problemsand share knowledge—the result being a deeper level of understanding and thecollaborative production of new knowledge. Through this process students learn how todevelop a questioning attitude, become self-directed learners, and actively participate ininteractive discourse. Although knowledge building has been utilized internationally in avariety of academic levels and settings, its potential for undergraduate engineeringeducation remains largely unexplored.This paper will focus on measuring the transformation that takes place in learners as aresult of participating in knowledge building—including changes in the nature of theirknowledge building contributions over time and changes in their conceptualization of thelearning process. The analysis was conducted on data collected over a two-year period ina sophomore engineering mechanics class. It includes a quantitative and qualitativediscourse analysis investigating the changes that take place in the discourse of eightstudents over the course of a semester. It also includes an analysis of surveys designed toinvestigate the changes in how students conceptualize their role and the role of theteacher in the classroom. These survey results are also compared to survey results fromthe same course and instructor before knowledge building pedagogy was implemented.It was found that student knowledge building discourse did change throughout thesemester. In the beginning there was a greater emphasis on facts, factual questions andtask-oriented discourse. Later in the semester the discourse was more idea-centered andfocused increasingly on working with evidence, theorizing and developing explanatoryquestions. An increase in epistemic agency and metacognitive discourse were also foundin the discourse. From the surveys it was found that the students’ conceptualization oflearning changed during the semester. At the beginning of the semester studentsgenerally held a more traditional teacher-centric view of learning (for example, theyindicated that it is the teacher’s primary role to demonstrate real life examples and tomotivate students). At the end of the semester students held a more learner-centric view(for example, they indicated that it is the teacher’s role to facilitate collaboration and helpstudents when they are stuck).
Ellis, G. W., & Ipesa-Balogun, H. A., & Yu, Y., & Zhang, Y., & Jiang, X. (2014, June), Developing a Learner-Centered Classroom Through Collaborative Knowledge Building Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20274
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