Distinguishing knowledge-sharing, knowledge-construction, and knowledge-creation discourses

Jan van Aalst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

188 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


The study reported here sought to obtain the clear articulation of asynchronous computer-mediated discourse needed for Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia's knowledge-creation model. Distinctions were set up between three modes of discourse: knowledge sharing, knowledge construction, and knowledge creation. These were applied to the asynchronous online discourses of four groups of secondary school students (40 students in total) who studied aspects of an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and related topics. The participants completed a pretest of relevant knowledge and a collaborative summary note in Knowledge Forum, in which they self-assessed their collective knowledge advances. A coding scheme was then developed and applied to the group discourses to obtain a possible explanation of the between-group differences in the performance of the summary notes and examine the discourses as examples of the three modes. The findings indicate that the group with the best summary note was involved in a threshold knowledge-creation discourse. Of the other groups, one engaged in a knowledge-sharing discourse and the discourses of other two groups were hybrids of all three modes. Several strategies for cultivating knowledge-creation discourse are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-287
Number of pages29
JournalInternational journal of computer-supported collaborative learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Argumentation
  • Constructivism
  • Knowledge building
  • Knowledge creation
  • Knowledge sharing


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