A conceptualization of factors affecting collaborative knowledge building in online environments

Samar Ghazal, Hosam Al-Samarraie, Bianca Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
309 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this paper is to address the major findings of published research on the factors influencing students’ knowledge building in an online collaborative environment.

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses was used to review and synthesize existing empirical studies on knowledge building in a collaborative learning context. In total, 24 studies were identified from major electronic bibliographic databases. The research was conducted between 2017 and 2019. Results of these studies were analyzed to determine potential factors that may influence the knowledge-building process among students.

Factors related to interaction and participation, task, student and support were found to be the major factors driving students’ knowledge building in the online collaborative learning environment. The association between these factors and certain collaborative tasks was mapped.

Findings from this review can help decision makers of higher education in both developing and developed countries to take the necessary steps in order to promote effective knowledge-building practices in online collaborative learning. It may also help educational policy makers to understand the particulars of collaborative knowledge-building practices, so to increase organizational overall effectiveness and performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-89
Number of pages28
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

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  • Knowledge building
  • Collaborative learning
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Distributed environments


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