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Fellow of the International Society of the Learning Sciences

Research Leader

Honorary Associate Professor

Academic Unit of Teacher Education and Learning Leadership


B. Sc., M. Sc. (Alberta), B. Ed. (Western), Ph. D. (Toronto)


[javascript protected email address]


(852) 2859 1956


Room 116, Runme Shaw Building

Research Expertise

  • Collaborative Learning
  • Learning Sciences
  • Research Methods and Methodologies
  • Technology-enhanced Learning

Prospective PhD/ EdD/ MPhil Applications

I am not accepting any further PhD/EdD/MPhil applications.

Teaching Areas:

Using ICT in teaching; foundations of the learning sciences; research methods and inquiry; design research; knowledge building


Research Interests:

Knowledge building; Formative Assessment; Inquiry-Based Learning

  1. Best Paper Award, CSCL 2005
  2. Most Usable Paper Award, "Classrooms of the Future" project, 2006
  3. Nominated for Best Paper Award, ICLS, 2010
  1. Formative assessment of knowledge building. Principal Investigator, RGC-funded project (Sept. 2008 – May 2013).
  2. Development of formative assessment tools for knowledge building. Principal Investigator, Seed Funding Scheme (July 2010 – December 2011)
  3. Journal publication patterns in educational research. Principal Investigator, Faculty Research Scheme (Sept. 2008 – Aug. 2009).
  4. Facilitating scientific argumentation in computer-supported collaborative learning: A meta-analysis. Co-investigator, Small Project funding Scheme (June 2013 – May 2014).
  5. Developing a teacher community for classroom innovation through knowledge building. Co-investigator, RGC-funded project (Sept. 2009 – Aug. 2013).
  6. Developing information literacy through an inquiry project with Web. 2.0. Co-investigator, RGC-funded project (August 2008 – Feb. 2014)
  7. Facilitating teacher change through a knowledge building community. Co-investigator, RGC-funded project (Aug. 2007 – Oct. 2009).

Journal articles and book chapters

  1. Watkins, D. A., & van Aalst, J. (2014). Comparing ways of learning. In M. Bray, R. Adamson, & M. Mason (Eds.), Comparative education research: Approaches and methods (pp. 365-385). Hong Kong SAR: China: CERC/Springer.
  2. van Aalst, J. (2013). Assessment in collaborative learning. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. Chinn, C.K.K Chan, & A. O’Donnell (Eds.), International handbook of collaborative learning (pp. 280-296). New York, NY: Routledge.
  3. Cucchiara, S., Vanin, L, & van Aalst, J. (2012). La valutazione in una comunità che costruisce conoscenza . [Assessment in a knowledge-building community.] QWERTY: Interdisciplinary Journal of Technology, Culture and Education, 6 (2), 347-367.
  4. van Aalst, J., & Chan, CKK (2012). Empowering students as knowledge builders. In L. Rowan & C. Bigum (Eds.), Transformative approaches to new technologies and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education (85-103). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer Science + Business Media.
  5. van Aalst, J. (2012). Conceptual change and knowledge building: An “epistemological resources” perspective. Invited chapter for C.B. Lee & D. Jonassen (Eds.), Fostering conceptual change with technology: Asian perspectives (pp. 173-198). Cengage Learning (Asia) Publishers.
  6. van Aalst, J., & Truong, M. (2011). Promoting knowledge-creation discourse in an Asian Primary Five classroom: Results from an inquiry into life cycles. International Journal of Science Education, 33, 487-515.
  7. van Aalst, J. (2010). Estimating the impact of journal articles in education. Educational Researcher, 39, 387-400.
  8. van Aalst, J. (2009). Distinguishing knowledge sharing, knowledge construction, and knowledge creation discourses. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4, 259-287.
  9. Niu, H., & van Aalst, J. (2009). Participation in knowledge-building discourse: An analysis of online discussions in mainstream and honors social studies courses. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology.
  10. Chan, C.K.K., & van Aalst, J. (2008). Collaborative Knowledge Construction and networked multimedia environment. Invited chapter in J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International handbook of information technology and primary and secondary education (299-316). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.
  11. van Aalst, J., & Chan, C. K. K. (2007). Student-directed assessment of knowledge building using electronic portfolios in Knowledge Forum. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 16, 175-220.
  12. van Aalst, J., Fung, W.H., Li, S.M., & Wong, P. Y. (2007). Exploring information literacy in secondary schools in Hong Kong: A Case Study. Library & Information Science Research, 29, 533-552.
  13. van Aalst, J. (2006). Rethinking the nature of online work in asynchronous learning networks. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37, 279-288.
  14. Chan, C.K.K., & van Aalst, J. (2006). Computer-supported collaborative knowledge building in teacher development: Experience from Hong Kong and Canadian Teachers. Teaching Education, 17, 7-26.
  15. Lee, E.Y.C., Chan, C.K.K, & van Aalst, J. (2006). Students assessing their own collaborative knowledge building. International Journal for Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 1, 277-307.
  16. van Aalst, J., & Hill, C.M. (2006). Activity theory as a framework for analyzing knowledge building. Learning Environments Research, 9, 23-44.
  17. van Aalst, J., & Cummings, M. (2006). Implementing knowledge building: Analysis of a face-to-face discussion by grade four students. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 6,351-368.
  18. Chan, C.K.K., & van Aalst, J. (2004). Learning, assessment, and collaboration in computer-supported learning environments. Invited chapter in J.-W. Strijbos, P.A. Kirschner, and R.L. Martens (Eds.), What we know about CSCL: And implementing it in higher education (pp. 87-112). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  19. Hill, C.M., & van Aalst, J. (2004). El profesor experimentado como constructor principiante de conocimiento: Hacia una agenda investigativa para la formación de profesores. [An Experienced Teacher as a Novice Knowledge Builder: Toward a Research Agenda for Teacher Education.] Actas Pedagógicas, 2 (10), 84-94.
  20. van Aalst, J. (2000). An introduction to physics education research. Canadian Journal of Physics, 78, 57- 71.‚Äč
  21. van Aalst, J., & Key, T. (2000). Physics expectations of pre-professional students. Canadian Journal of Physics, 78, 73-78.
  22. Stephenson, J., & van Aalst, J. (1986). Partition function zeros in statistical mechanics, III.  Physica, A136, 166-175.
  1. Literature review of learning theories. Principal Investigator, EDB-funded consultancy contract (Dec. 2012 – Feb. 2014).
  2. Professional development network for knowledge building in schools. Co-investigator, EDB-funded project (April 2008 – Aug. 2011).
  3. Advisory Board Member, STOAS Vilentum Professional Masters Knowledge Creation, 2009 – present.
  4. Knowledge Building Exchange. A website on knowledge building, 2011 – 2021.
  5. Editor in Chief Journal of the Learning Sciences (2017-2020), and Assoicate Editor (2013-2016)
  6. Editorial Board member: International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (2010 – 2020), and International Journal of Science Education (2012 to 2021).

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