Collaborative Instructional Strategies to Enhance Knowledge Convergence

To promote knowledge convergence through collaborative learning activities in groups, this qualitative case study involved a layered approach for the design and delivery of a highly collaborative learning environment incorporating various instructional technologies grounded in learning theory. In a graduate-level instructional technology course, research design focused on the learning environment structure, collaborative learning activities such as digital knowledge mapping, and the instructor’s role in scaffolding students’ learning to achieve shared knowledge. Content analysis of students’ work revealed four themes in the construction of collaborative concept maps: research, process, organization, and behavior. Student statements within the themes indicated use of specific critical thinking skills in the knowledge-sharing process.

Digital Knowledge Mapping as an Instructional Strategy to Promote Visual Literacy: A Case Study

This case study discusses the effectiveness of concept mapping and graphic organizers as an instructional strategy to promote visual literacy in an online graduate-level course. The challenge for teachers is to select instructional strategies that integrate visual literacy into the curriculum. Students utilizing visual thinking strategies to interpret and produce visuals will help foster a higher level of learning. Knowledge mapping as an instructional strategy promotes meaningful learning. Digital knowledge mapping offers the potential to link knowledge of complex theories and concepts to text, images, websites, virtual learning environments, and audio and video resources. Graphic organizers are knowledge visualization tools that support meaningful learning. Gowin’s Knowledge Vee diagram facilitates students’ use of their metacognitive processes to newly acquired information in order to make meaningful connections. In 1984, Novak and Gowin presented two constructivist techniques for learning: concept maps and the Knowledge Vee diagram. The Knowledge Vee enables students not only to understand the structure and meaning of knowledge but also in making important learning connections. A content analysis was used to examine the presence of themes within students’ final digital knowledge map justification assignment that provided insights on students’ thought processes, creation, and justification of concept map topics used to provide evidence of higher thinking levels and visual literacy approaches. The chapter discusses the study results and recommends instructional strategies to promote visual literacy.

The Instructional Effects of Knowledge-Based Community of Practice Learning Environment on Student Achievement and Knowledge Convergence

The increased accessibility of technology and Internet connections has enabled organizations to provide their workforces with the opportunity to engage in distributed education. “Harnessing this innovation calls for organizational and technological infrastructures that support the interplay of knowledge and knowing” (Cook & Brown, 1999,p. 381). This article explores the evidence of knowledge convergence in online knowledge-based communities of practice (CoPs). Learning outcomes assessed declarative knowledge, convergence, and knowledge application. A comparison group (self-paced design) was used to draw conclusions about the differential effects of knowledge-building strategies on these learning outcomes. The results show there was a difference in pretest and posttest scores and positive evidence of knowledge convergence. The findings pointed to higher posttest scores and higher level of convergence in the online CoP strategy.