A community in which the primary goal is knowledge creation. The original theory developed by Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia set out that to build knowledge, learners must collaborate and through the establishment of goals, discussions and synthesising ideas the collective knowledge is advanced from the original understanding.

They set out 12 principles to be considered in the process but not to be used as a checklist.

Knowledge building principles:

  • Real ideas
    • We identify and work with real issues to resolve
  • Improvable ideas
    • Every idea is seen as improvable rather than accepting or rejecting an idea
  • Idea diversity
    • We actively seek different contrasting and contradictory views and knowledge advancement depends on this diversity of contribution
  • Rise above
    • We do not become bogged down in oversimplifications and seek to continuously improve the idea and move forward
  • Epistemic agency
    • This is the active process of how we choose to be part of the process of Knowledge building and how we will engage with that process
  • Community knowledge
    • We are all collectively responsible for our contribution to community goals
  • Democratising knowledge
    • All contributions are valid and all participants are empowered to contribute to the process
  • Symmetric knowledge advancement
    • There is no one expert and everyone will benefit from the process of sharing knowledge
  • Pervasive knowledge building
    • Knowledge can happen any where and is not restricted to a classroom situation
  • Constructive use of authoritative sources
    • Seeking out know information is important but as important is to critically evaluate these sources and not just accept them as the answer
  • Knowledge building discourse
    • The discussions that take place and the problems identified and addressed enable these new conceptualisations to form
  • Concurrent, embedded and transformative assessment
    • This is integral to the knowledge building process and identifies advances, gaps and problems as the process proceeds

To learn more, click here for a brief history of knowledge building.