Learning Together Online: Insights into Knowledge Construction of Language Teachers in a CSCL Environment

Document Type : Original Article


Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter, United Kingdom



Sociocultural perspectives of learning emphasise the role of social interaction and activity in the process of knowledge construction and foreground the social-cultural settings in which knowledge construction occurs. This paper examines how in-service language teachers co-construct technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) in asynchronous discussion and explores two significant areas: 1) the critical elements of TPACK and 2) the process and strategies of knowledge construction. As such, the focus of the paper is placed on the type of knowledge that is considered significant by language teachers and the process of knowledge construction, with attention to the communicative strategies and resources. Online chats from 13 teachers are analysed using both thematic and sociocultural discourse analysis. The results indicate that TPACK mainly concerns the affordances of technology and methods to integrate technology from teachers’ perspectives. In the process of co-constructing TPACK, teachers use different communicative strategies to negotiate meaning and achieve mutual understanding. Various contextual resources are exploited to facilitate and mediate the process of knowledge construction. This paper highlights the significance of context in developing knowledge, the need for providing participants with training for communicative strategies, establishing ground rules in collaborative work, giving ownership of task or topic to the participants and the importance of social talk.