Influence of Participation, Facilitator Styles, and Metacognitive Reflection on Knowledge Building in Online University Courses

Stefano Cacciamani, Donatella Cesareni, Francesca Martini, Tiziana Ferrini, Nobuko Fujita

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Understanding how to foster knowledge building in online and blended learning environments is a key for computer-supported collaborative learning research. Knowledge building is a deeply constructivist pedagogy and kind of inquiry learning focused on theory building. A strong indicator of engagement in knowledge building activity is the socio-cognitive dynamic of epistemic agency, in which students exercise a higher level of agency for setting forth their ideas and negotiating fit with those of others rather than relying on their teacher. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of (a) levels of participation, (b) facilitator styles and (c) metacognitive reflection on knowledge building in two blended, post-secondary education contexts. A study of a total of 67 undergraduate students suggest that high levels of participation, a supportive facilitator style, and ample opportunities for metacognitive reflection on the students’ own participation strategies are most conducive for fostering epistemic agency for knowledge building. Implications of these results for research and instructional design of online courses are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalComputers & Education
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)874-884
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Computer-Mediated Communication
    • Post-Secondary Education
    • Teaching/Learning Strategies
    • Cooperative/Collaborative Learning
    • Pedagogical Issues

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