Enriching the informing cycle of Knowledge Building Communities by investigating students’ interpretations of design principles

Etan Cohen, Yotam Hod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge Building Communities (KBCs) are principled-based, interactive learning environments designed to scaffold higher levels of student agency and the formulation of goals and questions stemming from students’ knowledge-building needs. The design of KBCs is guided by a set of 12 principles that have been examined across hundreds of studies. Although five studies have investigated students’ perspectives of knowledge building, none have analyzed their views with the primary aim of refining the current set of principles. Positioning students’ perspectives on KBCs based on their experiences can help democratize the KBC research process if they are embedded into a clear methodological approach that can persuasively contribute to an advancing body of knowledge. In this article, we report on findings from a qualitative analysis that compared participants’ views of the KBC approach with the elaborations that currently appear in the existing formulations of the complete set of KBC design principles. Our findings indicate that there is a great degree of overlap between participants’ perceptions and the existing elaborations, but also point to extensions and one new principle. We offer a preliminary model that can help refine the current KBC design principles, as well as suggest future work that can continue advancing them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4382-4394
Number of pages13
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
Issue number7
Early online date13 Aug 2021
StateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Design principles
  • Knowledge Building Communities
  • informing cycle
  • interactive learning environments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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