Volume 1 · Number 3 · Pages 111–123
Modes of Knowing and Modes of Coming to Know Knowledge Creation and Co-Construction as Socio-Epistemological Engineering in Educational Processes

Markus F. Peschl

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Purpose: In the educational field a lack of focus on the process of arriving at a level of profound understanding of a phenomenon can be observed. While classical approaches in education focus on “downloading,” repeating, or sometimes optimizing relatively stable chunks of knowledge (both facts and procedural knowledge), this paper proposes to shift the center of attention towards a more dynamic and constructivist perspective: learning as a process of individual and collective knowledge creation and knowledge construction. The goal of this process is to profoundly understand a phenomenon in its multi-dimensionality and complexity and to reflect on the processes that have lead to this understanding. The issue we want to tackle in this paper is how this profound understanding can be brought about in a technology-enhanced learning environment. Method: Part 1 of this paper explores strategies of technology-enhanced knowledge sharing/creation in the field of higher education. Part 2 presents a successful blended learning scenario that illustrates the implementation of these learning strategies in a concrete course design. In this case study students are involved in active theory construction processes by conducting virtual experiments with a virtual organism. Part 3 elaborates on the epistemological implications of this case study. Findings: A constructivist framework for modes of knowing and modes of coming to know is developed. It is shown that – in order to reach a profound understanding of a phenomenon – it is essential to take into account the multi-facetted character of knowledge and to use the strategy of double-loop learning. Conclusion: This leads to an understanding of learning/teaching as a process of socio-epistemological engineering. Furthermore, the role of the teacher changes in such a constructivist setting of learning/teaching: Their primary task is to provide a “pedagogically (and technologically) augmented environment.” They are responsible for creating an atmosphere of collective knowledge construction and reflection. Beyond the role of a coach and moderator the teacher has to act as a facilitator or “enabler” for the (individual and collective) processes of double-loop learning.

Key words: blended learning, collaborative co-construction, collective learning, double-loop learning, e-learning, individual learning, knowledge construction, knowledge creation, organizational learning, socio-epistemological engineering, university teaching


Peschl M. F. (2006) Modes of knowing and modes of coming to know knowledge creation and co-construction as socio-epistemological engineering in educational processes. Constructivist Foundations 1(3): 111–123. http://constructivist.info/1/3/111

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