Information Retrieval Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 480–505 | Cite as

The orchestration of a collaborative information seeking learning task

  • Simon KnightEmail author
  • Bart Rienties
  • Karen Littleton
  • Dirk Tempelaar
  • Matthew Mitsui
  • Chirag Shah
Search as Learning


The paper describes our novel perspective on ‘searching to learn’ through collaborative information seeking (CIS). We describe this perspective, which motivated empirical work to ‘orchestrate’ a CIS searching to learn session. The work is described through the lens of orchestration, an approach which brings to the fore the ways in which: background context—including practical classroom constraints, and theoretical perspective; actors—including the educators, researchers, and technologies; and activities that are to be completed, are brought into alignment. The orchestration is exemplified through the description of research work designed to explore a pedagogically salient construct (epistemic cognition), in a particular institutional setting. Evaluation of the session indicated satisfaction with the orchestration from students, with written feedback indicating reflection from them on features of the orchestration. We foreground this approach to demonstrate the potential of orchestration as a design approach for researching and implementing CIS as a ‘searching to learn’ context.


Collaborative information seeking Searching to learn Computer supported collaborative learning Educational technology 



The work reported in this paper was conducted while the first author was a Ph.D. candidate at the Open University, UK, to whom he extends thanks. Thanks too to Dr Dirk Tempelaar’s lab assistants at Maastricht University, who assisted in supporting the lab-based orchestration.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Connected Intelligence CentreUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Educational TechnologyOpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  3. 3.Centre for Research in Education and Educational TechnologyOpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  4. 4.School of Business and EconomicsMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtNetherlands
  5. 5.School of Communication and InformationRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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