Knowledge Building

What is Knowledge Building

Bereiter and Scardamalia work at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

The Knowledge Building (KB) theory was created and developed by Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia for describing what a community of learners needs to accomplish in order to create knowledge. The theory addresses the need to educate people for the knowledge age society, in which knowledge and innovation are pervasive.

The Knowledge Building principles


Epistemic agency

  • Epistemic agency requires that the students themselves “deal with problems of goals, motivation, evaluation, and long-range planning that are normally left to teachers or managers.” The teacher has to turn high-level control over to the students. Students are building knowledge without the teacher directing them.

Democratization of Knowledge

  • All students should feel successful and get a sense of themselves as someone who can participate in Knowledge Building. Can you combine equal participation with engagement from everyone? Often some students would like to talk than others. To what degree should the teacher regulate it or not in the classroom?

See also


Resource pages and examples



  • Teo, Chew Lee (2012). Conceptual shifts within problem spaces as a function of years of knowledge building experience. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. PHD-Thesis