Dennerlein Sebastian, Moskaliuk Johannes , Ley Tobias, Kump Barbara
Tracing knowledge co-evolution in a realistic course setting: A wiki-based field experiment
Computers & Education, Pergamon, 2013
The co-evolution model of collaborative knowledge building by Cress & Kimmerle (2008)assumes that cognitive and social processes interact when users build knowledge with shareddigital artifacts. While these assumptions have been tested in various lab experiments, a testunder natural field conditions in educational settings has not been conducted. Here, wepresent a field experiment where we triggered knowledge co-evolution in an accommodationand an assimilation condition, and measured effects on student knowledge building outsidethe laboratory in the context of two university courses. Therefore, 48 students receiveddifferent kinds of prompts that triggered external accommodation and assimilation whilewriting a wiki text. Knowledge building was measured with a content analysis of the students‟texts and comments (externalization), and with concept maps and association tests(internalization). The findings reveal that (a) different modes of externalization(accommodation and assimilation) could be triggered with prompts, (b) across bothconditions, this externalization co-occurred with internalization (student learning), and (c)there is some evidence that external assimilation and accommodation had differential effectson internal assimilation and accommodation. Thus, the field experiment supports theassumptions of the co-evolution model in a realistic course setting. On a more general note,the study provides an example of how wikis can be used successfully for collaborativeknowledge building within educational contexts.