About us

Knowledge Building @ HKU is a research group in the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. The purpose of this website is knowledge exchange.

van AalstDr. Jan van Aalst is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Research).  In the 1980s and 1990s he taught high school and college physics and mathematics, was an early innovator in the use of computers in these subjects (data loggers, simulations, and computer algebra). His current interests are in various aspects of knowledge building, including pedagogy and assessment. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Learning Sciences for 2017-2020.

Carol ChanDr. Carol Chan is a Professor and teaches graduate courses in psychology of learning and knowledge building. In 1994 she received the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Canadian Association of Educational Psychology, and in 2006 she was made a University Teaching Fellow for her outstanding contributions to innovative teaching. She co-directs the Sciences of Learning Strategic Research Theme of the University of Hong Kong and previously co-directed the Knowledge Building Teacher Network. Her current research interests are in knowledge building, reading, and conceptual change. She is an associate editor of International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.

Researchers and Recent Alumni

Mu Jin photoDr. Mu Jin was a postdoctoral fellow with us from 2012 to 2014, and received a Ph. D. in educational psychology in 2012 from the University of Munich. Her main interest is in computer-supported collaborative learning, especially the semi-automatic coding of discourse in argumentation and knowledge building. She is now a Guest Scholar at the University of Passau.


Ella FuDr. Ella Fu completed her Ph. D. in information technology in education in 2014, applying qualitative research methods to analysing computer-mediated discourse in knowledge building. She identified 11 discourse patterns that frequently occur in attempts at knowledge building. Ella now is a postdoctoral fellow at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.


Sydney MsondeDr. Sydney Msonde completed his Ph. D. in information technology in education in 2013, studying the effectiveness of three designs for e-learning for promoting interaction between students and learning of university chemistry topics. Each design was developed through several iterations. He found the use of Web 2.0 strategies such as podcasts in conjunction with online discussion forums promoted better interaction and learning than using forums only in conjunction with reading material and lectures.

tuya2Dr. Tuya Siqin completed her Ph. D. in 2014, and studied the effects of social configurations in CSCL on learning in undergraduate research methods education at a university in Mongolia. Her design involved assignment to fixed groups as well as the “opportunistic collaboration” previously studied in Canada by Jianwei Zhang and colleagues. Dr. Siqin returned to university teaching.

Dr. Iris Feng Lin completed her Ph. D. in 2015, studying studying conceptual and epistemic change of primary school students who use knowledge building in science. She is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA.

Graduate Students

  • Christina Yang is a fourth-year Ph. D. student, and does research on school-based assessment of collaborative learning with technology. Her dissertation involves a series of case studies of formative assessment in knowledge building.
  • Ma Guanzhong is a fourth-year Ph. D. student, and is studying conceptual and epistemic change in middle-school students. He has a strong interest in educational design research and physics education.
  • James  Wilson is a first-year Ed. D. student, and teaches social studies at an international school in Hong Kong. He will study the design and learning effects of digital portfolios.
  • 6 students in the M. Ed. programme are carrying out dissertation research relating to knowledge building or the learning sciences.

Contact Us

Room 115, Runme Shaw Building, Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Telephone +852 2859-1956. Email: vanaalst@hku.hk.