Above: John Abbott discusses the theory of constructivism in learning
Constructivism as a learning theory
Constructivism is a learning theory that involves creating meaning from experiences and from reflections on those experiences. It is based on the learner being active in constructing their own understanding, not being a passive recipient of information. Group-work and project based investigative learning can be seen as examples of a constructivist approach to education.Constructivism is a large area in learning theory so this article only provides a starting point for further research.
Theorists commonly associated with constructivism are Bruner and Dewey, as well as Piaget and Vygotsky who are considered to be the originators of cognitive-constructivism and social constructivism. These two strands, and the differences between them, are key to understanding a constructivist approach to teaching and learning.
Constructivism and teaching practice
The table below is from WNetEducation from their excellent workshop on understanding how contructivism relates to teaching practice:
Constructivist teaching approaches
An interesting video from Hoston University by Susie Gronset explores constructivist teaching approaches:
Now, explore the resources below which will help you examine using constructivism in your teaching.
Sydney University have a wealth of interesting constructivist resources and links:
Berkley University provides an excellent definition of cognitive-constructivism:
University College Dublin looks at contructivism in action, assessment and the roles of the teacher and learner: