- The knowledge acquisition metaphor: examines how knowledge as a property or characteristic of an individual mind (Sfard, 1998); based on traditional assumption of the transmission of knowledge to student;
- The participation metaphor for learning examines learning as a process of growing up and socializing in a community, and learning to function according to its socially negotiated norms (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Lave & Wenger, 1991); learning is the process of growing to become a full member of a community, in which there gradually occurs a shift from peripheral to full participation. From this perspective, knowledge is not a thing in the world itself or within the mind of an individual, it is simply an aspect of cultural perspectives.
- The knowledge creation metaphor (Hakkarainen, Palonen, Paavola, & Lehtinen, 2004; Paavola, Lipponen, & Hakkarainen, 2004) suggests, that despite clear differences, several theories of collaborative learning have a common aim of explicating collaborative processes involved in the creation or development of something new. As representative theorists of knowledge creation metaphor, we ourselves have analyzed especially Bereiter's (2002) knowledge building, Engestrom's (1987) expansive learning, and Nonaka and Takeuchi's (1995) organizational knowledge creation (Paavola et al., 2004). The knowledge creation metaphor is not meant to be a specific theory of collaborative learning, but more like an umbrella term for otherwise quite different theories and approaches to collaborative learning.
A forerunner of knowledge creation is the theory of knowledge building. Knowledge building is a pedagogical approach that is focused on transforming school classes to inquiry communities focused on improving their shared ideas understood as conceptual artifacts with the assistance of collaborative technologies (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006).
In order to elicit knowledge creation process, it is essential to build an inquiry community that structures and directs the participants' collaborative epistemic activities. Collaborative inquiry learning appears to prepresent a special kind of cultural practice that can be appropriated by learners through organizing classrooms as inquiry communities (Brown, Ash, et al., 1993; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006).
Establishing an educational learning community is essential because it carries or bears social structures and practices critical for knowledge creating approaches to collaborative learning. In order to make CL work, it is essential to create and cultivate shared knowledge practices that guide participants' activities in a way that elicits a pursuit of shared inquiry. The term knowledge practices is used by the present investigators to refer to personal and social practices related to epistemic activities that include creating, sharing, and elaborating epistemic artifacts, such as written texts (Hakkarainen, 2009). Such practice refer to relatively stable but dynamically evolving shared routines and established procedures, such as question generation, explication of working theories, search for information, and contributing notes to KF, which have deliberately been cultivated within a learning community.
One basic tenet of the knowledge creation approach to collaborative learning is that innovation and pursuit of novelty are special kinds of social practices cultivated in epistemic communities and their networks (Hakkarainen et al., 2004; Knorr Cetina, 2001). A successful learning community deliberately aims at "reinventing" prevailing practices so as to elicit knowledge-creating inquiry (Knorr Cetina, 2001, p. 178).