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NARRATIVE TO SUPPORT KNOWLEDGE FLOW IN COLLABORATIVE LEARNING

G. Dettori

CNR (ITALY)
Narrative is a natural form of communication, easily and effectively used in every culture by both children and adults to communicate in simple and suggestive way possibly complex information. It provides a powerful frame to represent experience and helps to make sense of it, as well as to support knowledge creation and sharing. The literature reports increases effectiveness of mental organization when knowledge is presented by means of stories and narrations rather than of abstract modes of thought. For these reasons, narrative is increasingly viewed as a valid learning support in formal and informal situations in a variety of contexts, from schools of any order to teacher preparation and up to organizational training, where it is appreciated as a powerful agent of change.
This paper investigates, by reflecting on a number of meaningful examples in the educational field, how narrative can be used to help shape and foster knowledge flow in collaborative learning situations by supporting the creation of shared understanding and adding a concreteness element to the interaction, and by these means helping to explicit tacit knowledge and integrate it into formal learning. The limits to the applicability of this methodology are also highlighted.