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1. What is Collaborative Inquiry?

1.1. " The practice of engaging educators and researchers in order to improve understanding of what learning is (or could be), generate evidence of what's working( and whats not), make decisions about next steps, and take action to introduce improvements and innovations [Capacity Building Series, 2014]"

1.2. " A process in which participants come together to examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully using techniques of research.  Teams a dress a school, department, division or classroom issue driven by the consideration of student learning needs. Teams work together to narrow the question, gather and analyze evidence, determine action steps, and share findings and future recommendations" [ Collaborative Inquiry: A facilitators Guide]


2.1. Problem Solving is the most important cognitive activity in everyday and professional content. Nevertheless, our understanding of the cognitive processes is limited. [Jonassen, 2000]

2.2. Problem solving involves the process of Data Collection and Evidence Analysis. Here, methods and sources need to be careful selected for, and validity and accuracy need to be emphasized.

2.3. Problem Types [Jonassen, 2000]

2.3.1. Logical Abstract tests of reasoning that puzzle the learner. They asses mental clarity, acuity, and logical reasoning. The goal is to determine the most efficient solution

2.3.2. Alogirthmic Mathematical problems often involving rigid procedures, that lead to a final set of solutions. This requires number comprehension, number production, calculations

2.3.3. Story Word problems which involve identification of key words, selecting appropriate algorithms, and sequence for solving the problem. These problems are ill structured and require semantic comprehension, visualization of data, recognition of problem structure.

2.3.4. Rule-Using Many problems have a single solution but many paths which allow for the same outcome.

2.3.5. Decision-Making Involve the selection of an option from a set of alternatives, each with unique consequences. Processes involve analyzing values, generating alternative choices and evaluating the options. Affected by factors like conformity, social pressures, stress, fear of failure and cognitive dissonance. Normative Decisions Theory: how decisions ought to be made Empirical Decision Theory: how people actually make decisions

2.3.6. Troubleshooting Purpose os fault-stage diagnosis. This requires knowledge on how a system works, how to perform test-activities, and how to fix the problem.

2.3.7. Strategic Performance Involves use of real-time, complex and integrated activity structures while maintaining situational awareness. This type of problem solving requires decision making, improvisation, demandnds on attention, pattern recnition, working memory.

2.3.8. Case-Analysis Problem lll-structured problem with vaguely defined goals, no constraints may be stated and little, no undestdood agreement on what constitutes a good solution

2.3.9. Design Most complex and illl-structured problems. The are characterized by ambiguous specification of goals, no determined solution, and the need to integrate multiple knowledge domains.

2.3.10. Dilemmas There are many different types of dilemmas- personal, social and ethical. These are the most ill-structured and unpredictable type, because there is no solution that is satisfying or acceptable to most people- there are comrpmises associated with every single solution. Social Dilemma: eg, resource managment and population are perceived by individuals in terms of their own personal or -self interest for the common good. Ethical Dilemmas: involve the interaction of ethical considerations and legal,temporal or organizational obstacles.

2.4. Story

2.5. Domain Type - Ill/ Well Strcutred types, as well as complexity, abstractedness and stiltedness will all affect how a problem will be approached [ Jonassen, 2000]


3.1. After the completion of the inquiry process, there can be many different outcomes. The implications of the inquiry process can be use dot inform classroom or school wide practices, adaptations or changes can also be made.

3.2. Additionally, if outcomes of the inquiry cycle are unexpected, they may further modify the target question, so that collaborators can engage in a new cycle!

4. Why Use Collaborative Inquiry?

4.1. Collaborative Inquiry is a powerful tool, and can help create a culture of collaborative thinking in professional learning communities. It results in thoughtful action! As a result of team work, educators are better able to make informed decisions that are evidence based. [ collaborative Inquiry: A Facilitators Guide]

4.2. Research shows that collaborative inquiry can lead to increased student achievement, but also school culture is changed! [ Collaborative Inquiry: A Facilitators Guide]

5. What are the Stages of Collaborative Inquiry?

5.1. The Four Stage Model of Collaborative Inquiry: 1) Problem Framing 2) Collecting Evidence 3) Analyzing Evidence 4) Celebrating and Sharing [ Collaborative Inquiry: A Facilitators Guide]

5.1.1. Stage 1- In this stage, teams frame a problem, develop an inquiry question, and formulate a theory of action. Problems need to be manageable, something that can be fixed/changed, must be relevant to the current learning needs of students, and must be a common vision!

5.1.2. Stage 2: In this stage, teams determine where data will be collected from. Data types can include: Student assessments, demographics, enrolment and attendance levels, language proficiency, perceptual data from observations , interviews and questionnaires, and school process data

5.1.3. Stage 3: In this stage, a five-step approach is used to analyze data. This includes organizing, reading, describing, classifying and interpreting data. Teams search for patterns in relation to the inquiry question.

5.1.4. Stage 4: In this stage, teams share the knowledge and insights that they gained. The team needs to write up a report and determine if their inquiry question was answered, there're or not the results were expected, and what future steps need to be taken.

6. BURNING QUESTION: In a previous experience, I have been a part of a group of teachers developing a repertoire of new science projects. Though we were always contributing and sharing ideas, there was one 'self-appointed' leader- who insisted that their ideas were the best, and found ways to criticize everyone else work. What are some ways in which situations like this can be avoided, or dealt with in a professional manner?

7. * BURNING QUESTION: In a real-life scenario, what are some examples of well-structured problems that teachers may come across? It seems that classrooms and schools are so dynamic, that we are seldom left with such structured problems to solve.

8. *BURNING QUESTION What is the role of independent Action Research in the grand scheme of collaborative inquiry and problem solving?


10. Technology in Collaboration

10.1. What FREE Technologies can be used to facilitate Collaborative Inquiry?

10.1.1. Drop Box

10.1.2. Google Docs

10.1.3. Slack

10.1.4. Skype

10.1.5. Google Hangouts

10.1.6. Google Docs

10.1.7. Trello

10.1.8. Asana

10.1.9. Popplet

10.1.10. Samepage

10.1.11. Scribblar

10.1.12. GoVisually

10.1.13. polleverywhere

10.2. Decision making in virtual teams is gaining momentum due to globalization, mobility of employees, and the need for collective and rapid decision making by members who are in different locations. [ Turban,2011]

10.3. Collaboration 2.0 allows inexpensive, flexible and user controlled computing environment. Benefits include lower costs, increased efficiency, strengthened data security, improved productivity [ Turban, 2011].

10.4. General technologies include: Blogs, IM, Polls, RSS feeds, Wiki, Twitter, Facebook, Discussion Groups etc.

11. Reference: * Collaborative Inquiry: A Facilitators Guide. Retrieved from: *Capacity Building Series. (2014). Collaborative Inquiry in Ontario. Special Edition #39. Retrieved from: * Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: an overview. Theory into Practice 41(2), 64-70. * Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(4), 63-85. * Spiro, R. J., & DeSchryver, M. (2009). Constructivism: When It’s the Wrong Idea and When It’s the Only Idea. (Eds.) Signmund Tobias & Thomas M. Duffy Constructivist Instruction: Success or Failure. New York: Routledge. (Chapter  p. 106-123) *Turbin, E., Liang, T., Wu, S. (2011). A Framework for Adopting Collaboration 2.0 Tools for Virtual Group Decision Making. Group Decision and Negotiation. 20(2), 137-154.


12.1. Collaboration must be a shared process, were everyone is a co-learner with a shared vision and a meaningful focus. Everyone should listen to each other and support each other to engage in strategic risk taking! Everyone should have a unique role, and conflict resolution should be exercised on a professional level.

12.2. Some key terms associated with collaboration include: Sharing Ideas, Co-Construction, Scaffolding, Modelling and Coaching, Engagement, Compromise, Expanded Perspectives and Volitional Perspectives!


13.1. It is important to determine whether the teach is working with-in an ill structured or well structured domain

13.1.1. Ill Structured Domain: An ill-structured domain is one that is indeterminate, inexact, noncodifiable,non algorithmic, nonroutinizable, predictable,non decomposable,and disorderly. Ill-structured domains cannot have prepackaged prescriptions in long-term memory, due to the variability for each dominate (Spiro, 2009).

13.1.2. Well Structured Domain: contains features that are supposed to be directly instructed and supported. They contain regularity, and can be complex. Concepts can be directly instructed, fully explained, and simply supported (Spiro, 2009).

13.2. The team must also develop a question, formulate a theory of action and prioritize issues

13.2.1. Question Types: Strong Tips for Formulating a Strong Question : Weak Questions

13.3. focus should prioritize issues, and develop a meaningful area of questioning!

13.4. Focus should be on cultural, social, or intellectual value so that in later parts of the Inquiry process, meaningful adaptations can be made as a result. Relevance is key!

13.5. All members should have a common understanding of essential information and gaps in knowledge should be filled in prior to formulating a plan

13.6. Inquiry should be : Relevant, Collaborative, Reflective, Iterative, Reasoned, Adaptive, Reciprocal?

13.7. Goal Setting!

14. BURNING QUESTION: What skills and technologies are essential for International Collaboration where F2F is not possible. I am particularly interested in collaboration between educators and researchers in the field of Indigenous education on an international, so that we may develop a greater understanding and appreciation for Indigenous learning systems.

15. What Additional Skills are necessary for effective for Collaborative Inquiry?

15.1. Leadership

15.1.1. Appropriate types of leadership are necessary for guidance, refocussing, and re-directing group members as necessary!

15.2. Time Management

15.3. Conflict Resolution

15.4. Self-Regulation

15.4.1. Elements of Self-Regulated Learning: *Indepndance * Initiative * Engagement * Collaboration * Consideration * Time Management * Use of Resources * Use of Professional Expertise * Problem Solving * Monitoring Performance [ Zimmerman, 2002]

16. BURNING QUESTION: How can a team navigate through collaborative inquiry when leadership, time management, and conflict resolution skills are lacking?

17. BURNING QUESTION: What are some tools or strategies that can help individuals monitor their own progress and reflect on the process ?

18. BURNING QUESTION: * Which of the ten elements of Self-Regulated Learning are the most important for making meaningful contributions to your collaboration team?

19. BURNING QUESTION: What are some strategies for formulating a strong vs a weak inquiry question?

20. BURNING QUESTION: What are the most commonly encountered challenges in Collaborative Inquiry? How can these be prevented/overcome?

21. Links to Self-Directed Professional Development

22. BURNING QUESTION: For individuals who are not currently working in a professional setting, what are some ways in they can engage in professional development so that they may be more prepared for future collaboration opportunities?

23. Collaboration in the Classroom

24. BURNING QUESTION: Evidently, collaborations a very fruitful and rewarding process. What are some strategies for fostering and creating collaborative activities for students that does not involve group work with the unfortunate outcome that- one of the students does all the work?

25. *BURNIGN QUESTION Effective collaboration requires that all participants posses certain skills. In a classrooms when students are not yet accustomed to  collaborative activities, what does the teachers role as a facilitator entail?