KCA: Are We Putting our Knowledge Together?


This question is about creating links between ideas and “rising above” ideas to more powerful ideas. This kind of work is important for showing the community is learning. There are several ways:

  • Use one note as a reference in another note by dragging it into that note
  • Creating a rise-above note; here a small collection of notes is subsumed by a new note that “rises above” the ideas in them

Most students are not used to showing the connections between ideas, and this question helps to see how well the community is doing.

Sample Results

Figure 1 shows pie charts for a database of 21 students and 224 notes. 10% of the notes have references to other notes and 36% of notes are referred to by other notes.

Figure 1

Table 1 shows some of the notes for the pie chart on the left (notes with references in them). The first three rows show “portfolio notes”, in which students were asked in pairs to analyze what they had learned and link their answer to important notes. There are relatively few portfolio notes, but they have relatively many references. The last two rows are not portfolio notes and show that there were some notes in which referencing was used spontaneously.

links table headers


Table 1

Using the Results to Improve Knowledge Building

The results are relevant to several Knowledge-building principles such as Idea DiversityRise Above, and Community Knowledge, Collective Responsibility. You could discuss questions such as the following:

  • Are we creating enough connections between ideas? How could we work on KF differently to improve it, if necessary?
  • Are the connections useful? Are students just creating links or do the links help to understand the problem under discussion?