Business Information Management

The manageral system in developed countries is facing major challenges as a consequence of the revolution of communication and information technology. Relationships in modem societies are transformed by emerging new means of creating, processing, accessing, and transferring information. Information and communication technologies are dramatically altering many aspects of economic and social life: production systems, working methods, and relations, the organization of companies, and the way people communicate with each other are under-going changes throughout the world. Productive functioning in emerging collaborative learning organizations requires, in adults, new self-regulative skills of controlling and directing one’s own thinking processes and knowledge activities (Keating, 1995; 1996).

The revolution of information and communication technologies (ICT) is a major challenge for managers’ professional development. They have to learn technical skills adequate to use ICT productively, as well as to instruct and guide the students to use ICT purposefully and generatively. Managers not only have to become familiar with ICT but also to acquire the pedagogical expertise needed for fruitfully working with new technology-based learning environments. New pedagogical practices have to be explored and developed to facilitate higher-level knowledge acquisition skills the learners need to constructively adapt to the knowledge society. Currently, managers’ lack of technical expertise in ICT appears to significantly constrain possibilities of developing new and innovative computer-supported pedagogical practices.

Further, to fully use new pedagogical possibilities offered by ICT, profound changes in managers’ conceptions of learning and knowledge are required. Technical expertise alone is not sufficient for exploiting new pedagogical possibilities provided by ICT; insofar as ICT is used in the educational system as a purely technical innovation, it is not likely that significant pedagogical progress will be achieved. Several cognitive researchers (e.g., Salomon, 1997; Salomon & Perkins, 1996; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1994) have pointed out that many applications of educational technology support only lower-level processing of knowledge. Yet new pedagogical models of using educational technology, and particularly computer-supported collaborative learning environments, promise to provide new opportunities for solving pedagogical problems in the schools.

Scardamalia and Bereiter (1994; in press), and others, have proposed that to meet the future challenges, schools be transformed into communities where productive working for advancing communal knowledge is a primary goal of both students and managers. Knowledge building refers to a process of advancing understanding by setting up, articulating, and answering research questions, searching and exploring information, and generating and evaluating explanations. In the present study, the sustained processes of advancing and building of knowledge characteristic of scientific inquiry and knowledge-creating organizations are called “progressive inquiry.” Several, concurrent, cognitive research projects share a common goal of fostering such research-like processes of inquiry in education (Brown & Campione, 1996; Lamon, Secules, Petrosino, Bransford, & Goldman, 1996; Perkins, Crismond, Simmons, & Unger, 1995; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1994). Progressive inquiry entails that knowledge is not simply assimilated but constr ucted through solving problems of understanding. The emerging new models of computer-supported collaborative learning promise, with appropriate institutional support, to elicit development of higher-level skills of knowledge processing needed in knowledge society (Hakkarainen & Sintonen, in press; Lehtinen, Hakkarainen, Lipponen, Rahikainen, & Muukkonen, 1998). …