Instrumental genesis in technology-mediated learning: From double stimulation to expansive knowledge practices


DOI: 10.1007/s11412-012-9144-1

Cite this article as:
Ritella, G. & Hakkarainen, K. Computer Supported Learning (2012) 7: 239. doi:10.1007/s11412-012-9144-1


The purpose of the present paper is to examine the socio-cultural foundations of technology-mediated collaborative learning. Toward that end, we discuss the role of artifacts in knowledge-creating inquiry, relying on the theoretical ideas of Carl Bereiter, Merlin Donald, Pierre Rabardel, Keith Sawyer and L. S. Vygotsky. We argue that epistemic mediation triggers expanded inquiry and plays a crucial role in knowledge creation; such mediation involves using CSCL technologies to create epistemic artifacts for crystallizing cognitive processes, re-mediating subsequent activity, and building an evolving body of knowledge. Productive integration of CSCL technologies as instruments of learning and instruction is a developmental process: it requires iterative efforts across extended periods of time. Going through such a process of instrumental genesis requires transforming a cognitive-cultural operating system of activity, thus ‘reformatting’ the brain and the mind. Because of the required profound personal and social transformations, one sees that innovative knowledge-building practices emerge, socially, through extended expansive-learning cycles.


Epistemic mediation Chronotope Knowledge practices CSCL Knowledge building Expansive learning Instrumental genesis Double stimulation 

Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research on Activity, Development, and Learning (CRADLE), Institute for Behavioural SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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