Science & Education

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 535–557 | Cite as

The Knowledge Creation Metaphor – An Emergent Epistemological Approach to Learning

  • Sami Paavola
  • Kai Hakkarainen


We argue that beyond metaphors, according to which learning is a process of knowledge acquisition by individual learners (a “monological” approach) or participation to social interaction (a “dialogical” approach), one should distinguish a “trialogical” approach, i.e., learning as a process of knowledge creation which concentrates on mediated processes where common objects of activity are developed collaboratively. The third metaphor helps us to elicit and understand processes of knowledge advancement that are important in a knowledge society. We review three approaches to knowledge-creation, i.e., Bereiter‘s knowledge-building, Engeström‘s expansive learning, and Nonaka and Takeuchi‘s organizational knowledge-creation. We give a concise analysis of the trialogical character of the knowledge-creation approach, and illustrate how the third metaphor may be applied at the school level.


Social Interaction Concise Analysis School Level Knowledge Acquisition Individual Learner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sami Paavola
    • 1
  • Kai Hakkarainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Centre for Research on Networked Learning and Knowledge BuildingUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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