From Instructional Design to Setting up Pedagogical Infrastructures: Designing Technology-Enhanced Knowledge Creation

From Instructional Design to Setting up Pedagogical Infrastructures: Designing Technology-Enhanced Knowledge Creation

Minna Lakkala (University of Helsinki, Finland), Liisa Ilomäki (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Kari Kosonen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-937-8.ch008


Changes in society and working life have led educationists to propose that educational practices should pay special attention to advancing skills for knowledge creation, collaboration, and expert-like working with knowledge supported by modern technology. Classic models of instructional design mainly concentrate on individual content learning and are based on the strict pre-structuring of activities. The pedagogical design of collaborative knowledge construction is more indirect, focusing on establishing the underlying conditions in the learning environment to enhance desired practices. This creates new challenges for pedagogical design. Building on such views, a pedagogical infrastructure framework, including technical, social, epistemological, and cognitive components, is introduced as a conceptual tool to be used in evaluating the implementations of technology-enhanced collaborative knowledge practices in education. Three course examples are described using the introduced framework to demonstrate its applicability for examining pedagogical designs.
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A widely experienced concern in western societies is how to prepare present-day students to cope with the demands of the knowledge-based society and their future working lives. An obvious educational challenge is the need to train citizens to use modern information and communication technologies that constitute the most visible part of the knowledge society. It appears, however, that the skills for using the new technology or basic information skills are not enough, and that people need more advanced skills for working with knowledge, using it meaningfully in different contexts and collaborating with others. Educational experts are proposing that educational practices should pay special attention to improving competencies necessary for expert-like knowledge work and co-construction of knowledge instead of mere content mastery in specific subject domains (Bereiter, 2002; Paavola & Hakkarainen, 2005). These viewpoints relate to the increasing interest in the socio-cultural paradigm, in which human activities in general are seen as socially mediated, which entails that learning is also regarded as embedded in social processes rather than being an individual venture (Vygotsky, 1978; Jonassen & Land, 2000).

Within current educational literature, the pedagogical practices that researchers recommend and emphasize as important, have very similar characteristics to each other. These characteristics typically include solving of authentic ill-defined problems, usage of various knowledge sources, collaboration in groups, usage of web-based technology for collaboration, the creation of new knowledge and concrete products as a result of the working process, and critical self-reflection (see, e.g., Scardamalia 2002; Winn 2002; Kozma, 2003; Ilomäki, Lakkala, & Paavola, 2006). Paavola and Hakkarainen (2005) suggested that such viewpoints represent an emerging epistemological approach to learning, which they call the knowledge creation metaphor. This suggestion extends the well-known idea of two metaphors of learning − knowledge acquisition and participation − introduced by Sfard (1998), and emphasizes the role of collaboratively developed knowledge artifacts (ideas, solutions, models, products) as mediating elements and driving forces for learning and development.

The knowledge creation metaphor presents educators with new challenges since the goals and practices emphasizing creative work around knowledge objects assume changes in the conventional ways of designing educational settings in a detailed and carefully pre-structured manner (Lowyck & Pöysä, 2001; Palincsar & Herrenkohl, 2002). The processes and outcomes emerging in collaborative knowledge creation are shaped by somewhat unpredictable joint activity and interaction between the participants and, therefore, cannot be fully designed or structured in advance (Dillenbourg, 2002). And yet, many practitioners and researchers have witnessed that free, unguided, or unstructured collaborative work does not necessarily result in productive activity or meaningful learning (Kreijns, Kischner, & Jochems, 2003; Winn, 2002). Therefore, new approaches for pedagogical design are required that provide midway solutions between too strictly structured and fully self-directed activities.

The purpose of the present article is to introduce a research-based conceptual framework for examining pedagogical design efforts, explicating some essential components in supporting technology-enhanced collaborative knowledge creation. A pedagogical infrastructure framework is developed especially for providing researchers and educators with a conceptual tool for structuring the creation, description, and analysis of pedagogical designs of complex collaboration settings. The framework is supposed to be generic enough to be applied to various kinds of educational settings representing collaborative knowledge creation practices.

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