Knowledge Forum

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Knowledge Forum is a commercial tool for knowledge-building communities, used in industry, education and other organizations. It supports what instructional designs like the knowledge-building community model.

A true knowledge building environment facilitates learning - learning that is centered around ideas and deeper levels of understanding rather than the completion of often unrelated activities. Knowledge Forum is a collaborative database developed for this process of "knowledge building" - defining problems and hypothesizing, researching and collecting information, analyzing and collaborating. The structured environment of Knowledge Forum encourages these processes; it is where ideas are explored, new information is shared, and new knowledge is created. Research shows that this type of sustained inquiry encourages student interaction and inquiry. Research also shows that knowledge building produces a level of student interaction that occurs regardless of ability, a quality of inquiry that is above standard, and improved scores not only in basic skills but in conceptual development as well.

(Knowledge Forum: A Product of Research - an Advance in Learning, retrieved 12:39, 26 May 2006 (MEST))

Knowledge Forum grew out from the academic CSILE research system. This product is frequently updated. More recent versions now also include tools for researchers.

Related approaches and issues:

Related technology:

Educational use of Knowledge Forum

See the knowledge-building community model for discussion of a relevation instructional design model that can be implement with this technology.

From the Knowledge Forum website (May 2006):

Knowledge Forum provides university students and teachers with a unique collaborative space in which to organize course materials, analyze research results, discuss texts, and cite reference material. Science, literature, psychology, and language departments all over the world are finding that Knowledge Forum's referencing tools and shared workspace environment build vibrant intellectual communities across the curriculum.

Note: Besides propaganda for the you will find more research oriented articles on the website. Else, read related publications of Bereiter and Scardamalia.


Aalst & Chan (2007) present a "knowledge building portfolio" to “design assessment procedures that were primarily conducted by students, could be used to probe individual as well as collective aspects of learning, could be used to evaluate both process and product, and could be used to evaluate achievement as well as scaffold (guide) future learning.”



  • Allaire, S., & Hamel, C. (2010). L’échafaudage du discours collaboratif en ligne d’enseignants dans un contexte de développement professionnel formel. McGill Journal of Education/Revue des sciences de l’éducation de McGill, 44(3).
  • Allaire, S., & Laferrière, T. (2011). Communauté d’élaboration de connaissances en réseau pour le développement de la littératie de recherche chez des stagiaires en enseignement. In Favoriser la progression des stagiaires en enseignement (p.231‑261). PUQ.
  • Allaire, S., Thériault, P., Gagnon, V., Laferrière, T., Hamel, C., Boutin, P.-A., & Debeurme, G. (2014). Vers une écriture collective transformative au primaire : Interventions enseignantes et design technologique.
  • Bereiter, C. (2002). Education and mind in a knowledge society. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Chan, Y. T. (2019). Developing Productive Discourse through Collective Inquiry of Knowledge-Building Principles. In Lund, K., Niccolai, G. P., Lavoué, E., Hmelo-Silver, C., Gweon, G., & Baker, M. (Eds.), A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings, 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2019, Volume 1 (pp. 534-541). Lyon, France: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
  • Scardamalia, M. (2003). Knowledge Forum (Advances beyond CSILE). Journal of Distance Education, 17 (Suppl. 3, Learning Technology Innovation in Canada), 23-28.
  • Scardamalia, M. & Bereiter, C. (1994). The CSILE project: Trying to bring the classroom into world 3. In K. McGilly, ed., Classroom Lessons: Integrating Cognitive Theory and Classroom Practice (pp. 201-228). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/Bradford Books.
  • Scardamalia, M. (2004a). CSILE/Knowledge Forum. In Education and technology: An Encyclopedia (pp. 183-192). Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  • Scardamalia, M. (2004b). Knowledge technologies in education: Beyond learning environments. In Education and technology: An Encyclopedia (pp. 393-400).Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  • Van Aalst, J., & Chan, C. K. (2007). Student-directed assessment of knowledge building using electronic portfolios. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 16(2), 175-220.