Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Challenges

Knowledge Building in Action - KBIA


phenomenon [fi-nom-uh-non, -nuh n] 
a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed 

or observable

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Contact us:

Partnering Classrooms Worldwide!

Contact us if you would like to join the

Knowledge Building International Project:

Tel: +1 (305) 351-6815 


Supporting the most effective mechanisms for experiential learning

Applying knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or situations

In a knowledge-building classroom, students approach problems from an interdisciplinary perspective

with the teacher facilitating their inquiries.  Whether a broad subject like water and its applications to a

more narrow subject like healthy living in a large urban area, students engage in collaborative learning

and an exchange of ideas toward solving problems through deep learning and understanding the

subject matter's place in their own lives. This experiential learning process, also referred to as

Phenomenon or Project-Based Learning, serves as the basis for developing skills through practice

and reflection while supporting the construction of new understandings when placed in novel situations.

By engaging in guided, authentic, real-world learning, students deepen their knowledge through a

progression of knowledge-building principles and methodologies. Teachers are trained as facilitators 

of knowledge rather than dispensers of pre-determined content, and take an interdisciplinary approach

to teaching. Consider the example of studying water as a common topic: 

In small group settings, students exchange ideas regarding the problems they study and formulate

theories on innovative solutions, guided by the teacher for discourse around the issues. Students

exchange notes in the Knowledge Forum, an electronic workspace accessible through the Internet

for a limitless number of student participation at any time, and they create multi-media presentations

to demonstrate how they have gained mastery of the subject being explored.

This experiential learning teaches students the competencies they need for real-world success. They

gain mastery in the subject matter they are studying, and skills needed for 21st Century education - 

critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity in line with those advocated by international

organizations such as UNESCO and OECD for re-imagining education for what is taught and how it is

taught. The 21st Century skills acquired during the knowledge-building process will carry them through

the education continuum and into the workforce. By accessing authoritative resources that complement

their textbooks, which are usually outdated, they enhance the content needed for the particular course

of study, whether it be biology, history, civics, geography or really any topic they are studying in school.  

They watch video presentations through You Tube and Vimeo to learn from the experts. They go on

field trips to see the subject matter they are studying in action. And they form important relationships

with their peers in other cities and countries throughout the world when their classrooms and teachers

are partnered through the Knowlege Building in Action Community of Practice. 

This process includes the integration of:
          knowledge—the concepts, facts, and information acquired through formal learning and past experience;
          activity—the application of knowledge to a “real world” setting; and
          reflection—the analysis and synthesis of knowledge and activity to create new knowledge

Students apply the scientific method and use scaffolding to progress through the learning experience. When

students are engaged in these types of inquiry of proposing theories, defending those theories and reworking

the theory with input from their classrooms and the research they are doing, they see the relevance of what

they are studying to their own lives. They have increased motivation to learn, practice and give feedback.

Experiential learning creates self-directed learners. When confronted with unfamiliar situations and tasks in

a real-world context, students need to figure out what they know - and what they do not know and how to

learn it.  This requires a reflection on prior knowledge, deepened through reflection. They can then transfer

their previous learning to new contexts, master new concepts, principles and skills, and be able to articulate

how they developed this mastery.  Ultimately, these skills create students who become self-directed, life-long

learners, being able to apply what they learn to their own lives. 

During the learning process, teachers become facilitators of inquiry rather than dispensers of pre-determined

content. This means that they are not standing in front of the class but rather circulate amongst the small group

learning clusters in the classroom so they can monitor the learning taking place and can answer questions

students may have about the subject matter they are studying.  Teachers can pose problems, set boundaries,

provide suitable resource, ensure physical and emotional safety, and facilitate the learning process. They are

able to recognize and encourage spontaneous opportunities for learning, engagement with challenging situations,

experimentation and discovery of solutions and help their students notice the connections between one context

and another as well as between theory and the experience.

Knowledge Building in Action can facilitate any school wanting to implement experiential learning in their

K-12 classrooms. This includes training on the Knowledge Forum and partnering teachers in different cities.

Contact us in the United States at +1 (305) 351-6815, Email: