Relationships among tasks, collaborative inquiry processes, inquiry resolutions, and knowledge outcomes in adolescents during guided discovery-based game design in school

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This research study investigates US middle school students' collaborative information-seeking, sense-making and knowledge-building practices in a guided discovery-based programme of game design learning in which students and their teachers participate in a formal, in-school class daily, for credit and a grade for an entire year. The learning is supported by information affordances including a wiki learning management system (LMS) housing the curriculum, organized design activities, social media features, tutorials and informational assignments. Students engage in a Constructionist blended learning setting in their classroom, and work collaboratively in teams on game design. The study draws on qualitative video data from six team cases using a coding scheme of categories for the concepts of task, collaborative information seeking (CIS) Modality, and inquiry resolution outcomes. The study also considers linkages between processes and learning outcomes. Variation in engagement across the categories among students was charted, and certain patterns emerged. Findings indicate that some categories of task appear related to some categories of students' chosen CIS Modality for solving problems. Further, CIS processes in support of tasks appear related to inquiry incident resolution (resolved/unresolved). For student completion of advanced programming tasks in particular, we observe more frequent uses of the wiki-based LMS resources, and greater levels of challenge in fulfilling tasks. Results support existing work on these theoretical constructs in the information sciences, and lead to questions on how naturalistic emergence of CIS practices result from greater task knowledge, and whether learned CIS practices (as tasks in and of themselves) can yield project task knowledge gains. Findings of the study and the ongoing questions the work invites hold instructional design implications, and show how social constructivist educational contexts involving collaborative and information seeking and knowledge building among youth game designers can contribute to scholarly understanding of these processes more broadly in related project-based work contexts occurring among both youth and adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-58
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Information Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Collaborative information-seeking
  • constructionism
  • game design
  • guided discovery-based learning
  • guided inquiry
  • information literacy
  • knowledge-building
  • learning analytics
  • sense-making
  • social constructivism


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