Constructivism

Constructivism is a learning theory found in psychology which explains how people might acquire knowledge and learn. It therefore has direct application to education. The theory suggests that humans construct knowledge and meaning from their experiences. Constructivism is not a specific pedagogy. Piaget's theory of Constructivist learning has had wide ranging impact on learning theories and teaching methods in education and is an underlying theme of many education reform movements. Research support for constructivist teaching techniques has been mixed, with some research supporting these techniques and other research contradicting those results.


Resources

What is constructivism?

  • Concept to Classroom > Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
    Provides a workshop on the concept of constructivism beginning with an explanation of the term and ending with a demonstration of how the concept can be applied in the classroom. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
  • Learning Theories.Com
    Provides an overview of the concept of Constructivism: that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
  • Constructivist Learning Theory
    Although this site specifically discusses the meaning of constructivism for museums, it provides a very detailed explanation of Constructivist Learning Theory and the principles of learning. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)

How does a constructivist approach differ from a traditional approach?

How to design student-centered constructivist learning activities

  • Constructivist Learning Design
    Gives a detailed account of the development of Constructivist Learning and suggests a Constructivist Learning Design which emphasizes six important elements: Situation, Groupings, Bridge, Questions, Exhibit, and Reflections. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
  • Constructivism and the 5 E Model Science Lesson
    The 5 E model for designing science lessons is just one method of instruction that supports constructivist teaching/learning. Presented as a WebQuest this site helps teachers to develop a thorough understanding of Constructivism and its application to the classroom via the 5 E learning cycle. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
  • Moving Towards Constructivist Classrooms (pdf)
    This paper suggests strategies and approaches which can be implemented by teachers when planning constructivist opportunities for the classroom. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
  • Student-centred learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers?
    Describes the notion of student-centred learning (SCL) and how there has been a paradigm shift away from teaching to an emphasis on learning. Gives an overview of different definitions of CSL and suggests some ways that CSL can be applied to teaching and assessment practices. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
  • The Role of ICT in a Constructivist Approach to the Teaching of Thinking Skills
    Provides an overview of Constructivism and how ICT can be used to support thinking and learning from a Singaporean perspective. There is a link to the full paper. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)

Examples & case studies

ICT for constructivist learning - K-12

  • Creating a Learning Community: Using ICT to Enhance Constructivist Teaching Practice at Mountview School (pdf)
    This paper describes in detail ICT infusion into teaching and curriculum at a primary school in Canada and how students take the lead in developing inquiry questions of interest on curriculum which then become themes for major student projects.
  • A Case Study of ICT and School Improvement at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, Victoria, Australia
    A case study of an Australian school where change included the installation of an extensive ICT infrastructure, changing management practices and encouraging teachers to adopt an “active, constructivist and experiential” approach to teaching and learning.
  • Improving Students' ICT Use: The LDCT at Burleigh Heads State School
    A research report focusing on student learning in Years 5, 6 and 7 at Burleigh Heads State School where educational technology is used in many applications by teachers.
  • An ICT-based teacher training programme based on a social constructivist model in Ecuador (pdf)
    This paper presents several case studies of the impact of ICT on teaching practices and on teaching and learning in primary schools in Ecuador.
  • Learning with ICT: The Challenge of Changing the Way We Teach
    This paper discusses the development and implementation of an integrated learning environment (ILE) to support a student centred constructivist approach to teaching and learning in Hong Kong primary schools.
  • Primary science and ICT
    This paper presents a review of the impact of ICT in primary schools and a critical evaluation of ways in which ICT is currently being used to promote good science teaching. It considers the science and ICT children of today need to learn in order to enable them to become scientifically and computer-literate by the time they are 20.

ICT for constructivist learning - Teacher learning