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What is Constructivist Learning Theory?

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Constructivism is a learning theory that emphasizes the active role of learners in building their own understanding.

Rather than passively receiving information, learners reflect on their experiences, create mental representations, and incorporate new knowledge into their schemas. This promotes deeper learning and understanding. Constructivism is ‘an approach to learning that holds that people actively construct or make their own knowledge and that reality is determined by the experiences of the learner’1.

Implications for Teaching

Constructivist learning theory has a number of implications for teaching and learning. It suggests that teachers should:

  • Focus on the learner’s prior knowledge and experiences.
  • Provide opportunities for learners to actively process and interpret new information.
  • Create a supportive and collaborative learning environment.
  • Use hands-on activities and problem-solving to make learning meaningful.

Constructivist Learning Activities

Here are some examples of constructivist learning activities:

  • Students work in small groups to design and conduct an experiment.
  • Students participate in a role-playing activity to learn about a historical event.
  • Students create a presentation to teach their classmates about a new topic.
  • Students reflect on their own learning and identify areas where they need to improve.

Problems with Constructivism

  • It can be time-consuming and inefficient.
  • It can be difficult to assess student learning.
  • It can be difficult to implement in large classes.
  • It can lead to inaccurate or incomplete knowledge.
  • It can be difficult to apply to all subjects.
  • It’s not realistic.
  • It ignores recent findings from cognitive science.
  1. Constructivism Learning Theory & Philosophy of Education – Simply Psychology ↩︎

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