In higher education, students are often asked to demonstrate critical thinking, academic literacy (Geisler, 1994), expertlike use of knowledge, and creation of knowledge artifacts without ever having been guided or scaffolded in learning the relevant skills. Too frequently, universities teach the content, and it is assumed that the metaskills of taking part in expert-like activities are somehow acquired along the way. Several researchers have proposed that in order to facilitate higher-level processes of inquiry in education, cultures of education and schooling should more closely correspond to cultures of scientific inquiry (e.g., Carey & Smith, 1995; Perkins, Crismond, Simmons & Under, 1995). Points of correspondence include contributing to collaborative processes of asking questions, producing theories and explanations, and using information sources critically to deepen one’s own conceptual understanding. In this way, students can adopt scientific ways of thinking and practices of producing new knowledge, not just exploit and assimilate given knowledge.
The best practices in the computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) paradigm have several features in common: consideration in an interrelated manner of the development of technological applications, use of timely pedagogical models, and attention to the social and cognitive aspects of learning. Emphasis is placed on creating a collaborative community that shares goals, tools, and practices for taking part in an inquiry process.
Synthesizing these demands, Hakkarainen and his colleagues at the University of Helsinki have developed a model of progressive inquiry as a pedagogical and epistemological framework. It is designed to facilitate expert-like working with knowledge in the context of computer-supported collaborative learning. It is primarily based on Scardamalia and Bereiter’s (1994) theory of knowledge building, on the interrogative model of scientific inquiry (Hintikka, 1999; Hakkarainen & Sintonen, 2002), and on the idea of distributed expertise in a community of learners (Brown & Campione, 1994). The model has also been implemented and studied in various educational settings from elementary to higher education (see, e.g., Hakkarainen, Järvelä, Lipponen, & Lehtinen, 1998; Lipponen, 2000; Veermans & Järvelä, 2004; Muukkonen, Lakkala, & Hakkarainen, 2005; Lakkala, Lallimo, & Hakkarainen, 2005; Lakkala, Ilomäki, & Palonen, 2007).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Knowledge Building: A framework for collective knowledge advancement and development of knowledge artifacts.
Pedagogical Infrastructures: In the present context, the concept is intended to refer to the elementary preconditions that should be designed to shape and support collaborative inquiry practices in educational settings.
Metaskills: Skills involved in academic literacy, as well as metacognitive skills related to planning, monitoring, and regulating comprehension-related activities.
Epistemic Agency: Taking responsibility over one’s own learning efforts and advancement of understanding.
Scaffolding: Providing support, which enables a learner to carry out a task that would not be possible without that support, and enabling the learner gradually to master that task without support.