AI & SOCIETY

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 71–97 | Cite as

Collaborative information environments to support knowledge construction by communities

Abstract

Computer-based design environments for skilled domain workers have recently graduated from research prototypes to commercial products, supporting the learning of individual designers. Such systems do not, however, adequately support the collaborative nature of work or the evolution of knowledge within communities of practice. If innovation is to be supported within collaborative efforts, thesedomain-oriented design environments (DODEs) must be extended to becomecollaborative information environments (CIEs), capable of providing effective community memories for managing information and learning within constantly evolving collaborative contexts. In particular, CIEs must provide functionality that facilitates the construction of new knowledge and the shared understanding necessary to use this knowledge effectively within communities of practice.

This paper reviews three stages of work on artificial (computer-based and Web-based) systems that augment the intelligence of people and organisations. NetSuite illustrates the DODE approach to supporting the work of individual designers with learning-on-demand. WebNet extends this model to CIEs that support collaborative learning by groups of designers. Finally, WebGuide shows how a computational perspectives mechanism for CIEs can support the construction of knowledge and of shared understanding within groups. According to recent theories of cognition, human intelligence is the product of tool use and of social mediations as well as of biological development; CIEs are designed to enhance this intelligence by providing computationally powerful tools that are supportive of social relations.

Keywords

Collaborative learning Communities of practice Construction of knowledge Perspectives mechanism 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Life Long Learning and Design and Institute of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of Colorado at BoulderUSA

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