Scaffolding learner autonomy in a wiki-supported knowledge building community and its implications for mindset change

Chun Yi Lin*, Charles M. Reigeluth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Prior research has revealed resistance against wiki collaboration in higher education classrooms. Compared with small-group projects, whole-class knowledge building (KB) on a wiki is difficult, given students’ lack of similar experiences, which requires scaffolding intersubjectivity and transfer of responsibility. This paper focuses on the second cycle of a design-based research study to develop learner autonomy in wiki-supported KB. A learner autonomy framework guided the re-design of the instructional theory with content from the relevant literature. The theory was implemented in an undergraduate design course to validate and refine the theory. We analyzed the data from observations, wiki content, interviews with the expert instructor and two other instructors and a focus-group interview with students. We found that the KB principles helped students understand KB; and the self-regulation and meta-cognition strategies increased motivation and confidence in KB. From the success of this case, we propose that scaffolding learner autonomy for a wiki-supported KB calls for a change in students’ learning mindsets and requires careful instructional design to support the cognitive, behavioral and affective aspects of change to reduce resistance. Practitioner Notes What is already known about this topic Knowledge building (KB) should be practiced to enhance students’ competency in innovating and improving ideas collaboratively for societal progress. Wiki-supported whole-class KB is more difficult than wiki-supported small-group projects owing to students’ lack of experience in KB. What this paper adds An instructional theory designed to foster learner autonomy in KB on a class wiki. Success in fostering KB on a class wiki validates the instructional methods and suggests refinements to help students understand KB and increase their motivation and confidence in doing so. Implications for practice and/or policy Autonomy in KB requires scaffolding in the behavioral, cognitive and affective aspects. Although wiki-supported KB challenges students who have a teacher-centered mindset of learning or have been immersed in a culture of competition, it brings an opportunity to change students’ mindset to favor co-constructed learning and create a culture of sharing in the process of adopting it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2667-2684
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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