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Constructivism is....

...an interaction between experiences and reflexes or behaviour-patterns. Piaget called these systems of knowledge schemata. Through processes of accommodation (process of reframing one's mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences) and assimilation (incorporate the new experience into an already existing framework without changing that framework), individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences; there is also an unlimited potential for knowledge construction.

Constructivists state that "knowledge constructions do not have to reflect the world as it really is to be useful and viable" (Driscoll, 2005, p.388). Therefore, there are limits to what learners make of their environment. The new knowledge learned is linked to prior knowledge; the learner's past and culture contribute to knowledge.


Here's a short video to learn about this theory as explained by Jerome Bruner:





The Learning Goals of Constructivism are...

to create learning in context using meaningful activities: "It is not enough, in other words, for students to acquire concepts or routines that lie inert, never to be called upon even in the face of relevant problems to be solved. Instead, knowledge must be develop and continue to change with the activity of the learner" (Driscoll, 2005, p. 390). Here, learners aim to acquire cognitive flexibility.


The Constructivist Conditions for Learning:

1. To embed learning in authentic, complex, and relevant environments - If tasks are simplified for learners, then learning does not replicate complex problems that learners will eventually face in real life.

2. Social negotiation where learning happens communally and collaboratively: "Listening, or reading privately, is not sufficient to challenge the individual's egocentric thinking...learners develop and defend individual perspectives while recognizing those of others" (p.397).

3. Multiple perspectives and multiple modes of learning - for example, ways to achieve these are using multiple metaphors, interpretations, and models of the same information to create a variety of different perspectives.

4. Ownership of learning where "students are not passive recipients of instruction that has been designed for them" (Driscoll, 2005, p.399). Here, students are active learners and teachers become a coach or resource.

5. Self-awareness of knowledge construction - learners are aware of their thinking and learning processes. This awareness allows learners to create and explore new structures in learning: "The goal of reflexivity is partly supported is partly supported by the juxtaposition of instructional content and resulting emphasis on multiple perspectives. It is also very much related to ownership in instruction and the learner's subsequent commitment to a particular perspective" (Driscoll, 2005, p. 401).


Additional information about Constructivism, theorists and instructional implications can be found here -
Constructivism and Learning: http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/w/x/wxh139/construct.htm


References:
Driscoll. M.P. (2005). Psychology of Learning for Instruction (pp. 384-407; Ch. 11– Constructivism). Toronto, ON: Pearson.