Designing online conversations to engage local practice: Implications of a knowledge-building framework

Alyssa Wise, Thomas M. Duffy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, a model for the design of a conversation space to support knowledge-building is presented. While online environments are focused on, the model has much greater generality. The model, an expansion and adaptation of Nonaka's work, considers knowledge as consisting of complementary explicit and tacit dimensions. It argues that these two dimensions of knowledge are mutually reinforcing, inseparable, and irreducible, and thus, in order to build robust knowledge, both dimensions and, most critically, the relationship between them, must be attended to. The model conceptualizes the development of knowledge as a spiral between the complementary processes of externalization (through collective online reflection) and internalization (through conscientious local practice) and discusses eight principles for designing online conversations to foster effective externalization, thus promoting the knowledge-building spiral. The broader message of this chapter is that designers need to expand their frame for thinking about "online" learning to include not only the virtual space but also the local spaces which learners inhabit in order to create useful and engaging learning experiences. All of the eight design principles presented here support this consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Conversation Design for Instructional Applications
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781599045979
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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