Constructivist Learning Theory

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The constructivist theory is based around the idea that learners are active participants in their learning journey; knowledge is constructed based on experiences. As events occur, each person reflects on their experience and incorporates the new ideas with their prior knowledge. Learners develop schemas to lớn organize acquired knowledge. This mã sản phẩm was entrenched in learning theories by Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gagne, & Bruner.

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See also: Cognitive Apprenticeship

The theory of constructivist learning is vital lớn understanding how students learn. The idea that students actively construct knowledge is central to constructivism. Students add (or build) their new experiences on đứng đầu of their current foundation of understanding. As stated by Woolfolk (1993) “learning is active mental work, not passive reception of teaching”.

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As an educator, it is important to understand the theory of constructivist learning. Each student that enters your classroom has a chất lượng perspective on life that has been created by their chất lượng experiences. This will impact their learning. If the basis of the constructivist theory states that students construct new knowledge on what they have already had, the entry point of their learning journey is of utmost importance. Learning theories are as valuable as credentials lớn educators; it is important to understand what will affect the learning journey of your students.

The theory of constructivism has many elements. These principles outline the theory as a whole & how they affect the learning of the students. The main points are listed below:

Knowledge is constructed. Every student begins the learning journey with some preexisting knowledge & then continues khổng lồ build their understanding on đứng đầu of that. They will select which pieces of the experience to lớn add, making everyone’s knowledge unique.Learning is a social activity. Interacting with others is vital lớn constructing knowledge. Group work, discussions, conversations, & interactions are all important lớn creating understanding. When we reflect on our past experiences, we can see how our relationship with others is directly connected to the information learned.Learning is an active process. Students must actively engage in discussions & activities in order khổng lồ construct knowledge. It is not possible for students to take on a passive role & retain information. In order to build meaningful ideas, there must be a sensory response.People learn khổng lồ learn, as they learn. As each student moves through the learning journey, they get better at selecting and organizing information. They are able khổng lồ better classify ideas and create more meaningful systems of thought. They also begin to recognize that they are learning multiple ideas simultaneously, for example, if they are writing an essay on historical events, they are also learning elements of written grammar. If they are learning about important dates, they are also learning how to lớn chronologically organize important information.Learning exists in the mind. Hands-on activities và physical experience are not enough to retain knowledge. Active engagement and reflection are critical khổng lồ the learning journey. In order lớn develop a thorough understanding, students must experience activities mentally as well.Knowledge is personal. Because every person’s perspective is unique, so will be the knowledge gained. Every individual comes into the learning activity with their own experiences và will take away different things as well. The theory of constructivist learning is based entirely around each individual’s own perspective và experiences.Motivation is key khổng lồ learning. Similar lớn active participation, motivation is key lớn making connections and creating understanding. Students cannot learn if they are unwilling to lớn reflect on preexisting knowledge and activate their thought process. It is crucial that educators work to motivate their students to engage in the learning journey.

See also: Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

Constructivism in Education

It is not enough lớn simply know the theory of constructivist learning. Educators must also know how lớn implement it in their classrooms. Their goal is lớn create a welcoming environment that promotes active engagement in learning. In the theory of constructivist learning, instructors act as facilitators. They must promote collaboration and adjust their lessons based on the prior level of understanding of the class. Once they identify students’ existing knowledge, instructors must work to grow the understanding in those areas.

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There are four key areas that are crucial lớn the success of a constructivist classroom:

The instructor takes on the role of a facilitator instead of a director.There are equal authority and responsibility between the students & the instructor.Learning occurs in small groups.Knowledge is shared between both the students and the instructor.

These four areas must be addressed in order for the constructivist classroom to be successful. As you can see, it differs greatly from the traditional classroom. Constructivist classrooms are more student-centered and the learning revolves around their interests and questions. Teachers guide learning by implementing group activities, creating collaborative dialogue, and facilitating interactive experiences. Students build on their prior knowledge and construct new understanding based on the lessons taught. Dialogue & negotiation are also key components khổng lồ successful learning.

In the table below, you can see how the constructivist classroom compares lớn the traditional classroom. Each style has its own benefits and consequences.

Constructivist ClassroomTraditional Classroom
Pursues student interests và questionsFollows a strict curriculum
Uses manipulative and primary materialsTextbooks & workbooks are primary materials
Learning is based on big ideas with exploration into smaller partsLearning emphasizes skills and curriculum is taught in parts to achieve the whole idea
Instructor is responsible for guided and interacting with students; negotiator roleInstructor is responsible for directing learning; authoritative role
Instructors assist students in creating knowledge with dialogueInstructors communicate information và students receive knowledge
Students build knowledge on prior understanding through interactionsStudents acquire knowledge through repetitive practice
Knowledge is continuously evolving with student understandingKnowledge is acquired, then remains stagnant
Process is important, therefore evaluations may include observation, discussion, & student workTests and evaluations demonstrate student understanding
Learning activities occur mostly in groupsLearning activities are mostly independent

When implementing the constructivist theory in the classroom, lessons must include the following components:

Eliciting prior knowledge. As new understanding is constructed on preexisting knowledge, the instructor must first activate prior knowledge. This can be done with collaborative activities, relaxed discussions, or pre-tests.Creating cognitive dissonance. Knowledge is built when new ideas are presented and activities are just challenging enough for students. “Just right problems” force students to reevaluate the schemas in their mind và organize new solutions.Applying knowledge with feedback. The instructor’s role is to encourage students and provide feedback. This may be seen in the size of quizzes, presentations, or discussions in the classroom. The goal of applying feedback should be to lớn encourage even more growth và challenge knowledge of the new situation.Reflecting on learning. Students should be offered the opportunity to lớn reflect on their understanding và demonstrate their learning. This could be in the form of an essay, a presentation, or even the responsibility of sharing their knowledge with another student.

Examples of constructivist classroom activities

Reciprocal teaching/learning: a group of 2 or more students work together and teach one another.Inquiry-based learning: students create their own questions and seek to lớn solve them through research và observations. After underlining the arguments for their response, they make connections between their prior knowledge và the information discovered through their research. Students conclude by identifying possible gaps & developing further questions for the next project.Cooperative learning: small group activity with one key difference – interdependence. While most constructivist activities rely on group learning, cooperative activities are where group members are dependent on others to achieve solutions. There is no division of tasks in cooperative learning; instead, group members rely on the knowledge of others khổng lồ further their own understanding.

See also: How Can We Align Learning Objectives, Instructional Strategies, and Assessments?