Knowledge Building

Knowledge building is the creation or modification of public knowledge as a result of the discussion, revision and synthesis of ideas. This skill is viewed by many as an essential ability for the 21st century. Students in the KBIP project take part in knowledge building with their classroom peers and international peers. With partners, small groups or as a whole class, students advance their understanding of their research topics beyond their initial understanding, with the aim of producing more pertinent knowledge about their research topic.The students take responsibility for their research and learning (including generating questions, discussing ideas, evaluating information and monitoring their progress), while the teacher acts as a guide and facilitator for the learning process.

The goal of knowledge building is to improve ideas and deepen understanding of a topic rather than simply to accomplish a task or complete a project. The focus of participants is on collaboration rather than on conflict.

The students' collaborative process is enabled by Knowledge Forum, an asynchronous online environment that facilitates shared discourse between participants. 

Here is the Knowledge Forum database (shared workspace) where classes can collaborate on their research and knowledge building:

Here is an example of the discourse that takes place in the Knowledge Forum. This view shows the connections between notes contributed by participants:

Here is an example of a note produced by a student which expresses a theory he has about the consequences of poor water management:

The Knowledge Forum educational software was developed by OISE researchers Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter. You can find the english video turotials here .