A pedagogical model which aims at facilitating the same kind of productive practices of working with knowledge in education that characterize scientific research communities. It emphasizes shared expertise and collaborative work for knowledge building and inquiry by setting up the context, using questions, explanations, theories, and scientific information in the cycle of deepening inquiry. Often used with computer-supported learning. The model has evolved from the initial cognitively oriented one toward versions that highlight pragmatic and socio-cultural aspects of inquiry.

The model describes the elements of expert-like knowledge practices in a form of a cyclic inquiry process (Hakkarainen, 1998; Muukkonen, Lakkala & Hakkarainen, 2005). It relies on cognitive research on education and is closely associated with the knowledge-building approach of Scardamalia and Bereiter (1994; 2003) and the Interrogative Model of Inquiry introduced by Hintikka (1999). In a progressive inquiry process, the teacher creates a context for inquiry by presenting a multidisciplinary approach to a theoretical or real-life phenomenon, after which the students start defining their own questions and intuitive working theories about it. Students’ questions and explanations are shared and evaluated together, which directs the utilization of authoritative information sources and iterative elaboration of subordinate study questions and more advanced theories, explanations and writings. The model is not meant prescriptively, as an ideal path to be followed rigidly; rather it offers conceptual tools to describe, understand and take into account the critical elements in collaborative knowledge-advancing inquiry. The elements of progressive inquiyr are often discribed by the following picture.

Figure 1. Elements of Progressive Inquiry


Hakkarainen, K. (1998). Epistemology of inquiry and computer-supported collaborative learning. Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Hintikka, J. (1999). Inquiry as Inquiry: A Logic of Scientific Discovery. Selected Papers of Jaakko Hintikka, Volume 5. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Muukkonen, H., Lakkala, M. and Hakkarainen, K. (2005). Technology-mediation and tutoring: how do they shape progressive inquiry discourse? The Journal of the Learning Sciences 14(4): 527-565. Available online.

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2003). Knowledge building. In Encyclopedia of Education (2nd ed., pp. 1370-1373). New York: Macmillan Reference, USA. Available online.

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