Latest edits: Friday, 12 April 2013, 02:18 PM (Steve Draper); Monday, 25 March 2013, 08:04 PM (Holly BEAR); Monday, 25 March 2013, 04:12 PM (Rachel SLATER); full history

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This page will present a substantiated and comprehensive account of the many components which contribute towards a defined meaning of Constructivism in relation to educational learning theory.Within this context, Construtivism is arguably a multifaceted construct, which spans both theory and  practice. It has had many contributors yet harbors many misconceptions; it involves contributions from both the teacher and the learner, spans various forms of learning style and can extend beyond the traditional classroom setting.     

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Edit section 1 comment; latest Thursday, 21 March 2013, 08:47 PM
  • Commenter: Holly BEAR
    Date: Thursday, 21 March 2013, 08:47 PM

    Was thinking this could possibly be changed to "within modern educational programs" * within modern educational theory and practice?


Edit section 1 comment; latest Thursday, 21 March 2013, 08:47 PM
  • Commenter: Holly BEAR
    Date: Thursday, 21 March 2013, 08:47 PM

    Was thinking this could possibly be changed to "within modern educational programs" * within modern educational theory and practice?

  • Commenter: Holly BEAR
    Date: Thursday, 21 March 2013, 08:47 PM

    Was thinking this could possibly be changed to "within modern educational programs" * within modern educational theory and practice?

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Constructivism is a popular concept in modern educational programs. It is an umbrella term covering theories which involve cognitive and social aspects of education. The idea is that learners construct their own knowledge. Each learner has a knowledge base which they must use in order to construct knowledge to solve problems presented by the environment. The role of teachers in constructivism is to pose challenges and offer support in construction (Davis, Maher and Noddings, 1990). It is argued that constructivism is not a theory about teaching; it is a theory about learning. Knowledge is temporary, developmental, socially and culturally mediated (Brooks and Brooks, 1993). Furthermore, Knowledge is dependent on the individual – knowledge is gained through our own experiences (Von Glaserfeld, 1995). The central principle of constructivism is that learners can only make sense of new situations in terms of their existing understanding. Constructivists shift the focus from knowledge as a product to knowledge as a process. Constructivism relies upon the active role of each individual learner. By viewing learning as an active process, teachers can take into account student’s prior knowledge and can build on preconceptions thus increasing the likelihood that learning will be deeper and understanding will last longer.
There is really no agreed meaning of the term constructivism; the meaning varies according to one’s perspective and position. This makes it increasingly hard for teachers to understand their role within the constructivist approach.

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The idea of constructive education is not new. The foundations of constructivism go as far back as the 18th Century with the philosopher Giambattista Vico who declared, “the only way of “knowing” a thing is to have made it.” Constructivism has developed since Vico, resulting in it being difficult to associate the theory with a single person, or for constructivism to be seen from a universal point of view (Applefield, Huber, and Moallem, 2000). Nonetheless, a select few stand out for their influential contribution to the constructivist ideology and practice and these are John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, however depending on where the reader looks, these names will vary depending on the authors’ perspectives on constructivism. It should be noted that other scholars such as Immanuel Kant, William James, Lev Vygotsky, and Thomas Kahn also have roots in constructivism (Kivinen & Ristela, 2003). Although these scholars may have concentrated or based their theory on children, their ideologies are often applied to adult education as part of constructive learning today.

John A. Dewey (1859-1952)

picture of John Dewey is reproduced here on the understanding that it is in the public domain - Wikipedia Commons copyright expiredDewey’s first main concern within education is that the teacher is a facilitator and the child’s experience is central to both the content and the process of education (Dewey, 1938). Secondly Dewey believes that the learner must engage in active learning, so for a learner to construct knowledge they must actively engage in individual and social experiences (Bulut, 2006). This means that Dewey’s constructivist approach relies upon creating learning conditions that allow learners to pursue their own objectives based on their own experiences. Linked to this, Dewey rejects the division between the classroom & the ‘real world’ (Dewey, 1938) and emphasises that students need a ‘lived experience’ of the real world, which ideally occurs in both the classroom, as well as further afield (Ültanir, 2012) and students should be able to apply the concepts they are attempting to learn with meaningful activities. Finally, Dewey stressed the importance of self-directed learning. According to Dewey, a student cannot learn by memorisation alone, they need ‘directed-learning’ (Dewey, 1938, 1966).

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

  Montessori envisaged an interactive educational environment with an emphasis on active participation, for example learners are allowed to move around the classroom and interact with one another in a structured environment. The aim of this freedom provided is to support the learners’ natural curiosity. Montessori believed in self-directed, independent studying, where the learner  chooses what they want to do, how long they want to do it for, and who they want to work with. Such a curriculum allows the learner to develop the self-discipline required in life post-education. Creative problem solving skills are encouraged in Montessori education, independence is taught, and the development of self-control is supported. Further, the role of the teacher is to be a ‘facilitator’ (Montessori, 1997), which refers to both the teacher and the student sharing power and responsibility within the classroom. Montessori even conjectured that a great sign of success within Montessori education is for the teacher to be able to say ‘the children are now working as if I didn’t exist,’ (Montessori, 1995, p.283).

 

Jean Piget (1896-1980)

  Piaget was not an educator, rather his basic research interest concerned what the nature of knowledge is and how it grows and develops (Ültanir, 2012). Piaget believed that intelligence develops through adaptation (assimilation & accommodation) and organisation of new information (Piaget, 1953, 1969), therefore humans cannot understand and use information they have just been given, instead they must understand and construct their own knowledge.  For example Piaget states, “to copy an object is not to know it, instead, knowing is establishing transformation systems of the object,” (Piaget, 1971). Knowledge construction is performed by an individual bringing new knowledge into their existing schemas and changing these schemas to “accommodate” the new information. This means knowledge is not static; it changes over time and is a process of continual construction and re-organisation (Kim, 2005). According to Piaget (1971), the process of learning is performed via discovery through autonomous activities within the classroom.

The concept of building knowledge constitutes Piaget’s theory of cognitive constructivism. Piaget used Constructivism as a way of explaining how people come to know about their world. (Kim, 2005). When applied to a learning environment, if a teacher recognises that the process of assimilation and accommodation occurs at different rates for different individuals, this will help them facilitate constructivist learning. Piaget’s reference to his views as ‘constructivist’ is one reasonable presumption as to where the term ‘constructivism’ derived from (Gruber & Voneche, 1977).

Although Dewey, Montessori and Piaget have slightly different perspectives regarding their idea of teaching and learning (some more subtle than others), it is evident that there are common assumptions between them which constitute the constructivist theory. For example all three scholars emphasise the importance of self-directed learning and active participation within the classroom, the role of the teacher as a facilitator and the view that knowledge is constructed via a continual process of discovery.

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Though constructivism is a learning theory, it is the application of what are often referred to as "constructivist practices" (Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde, 1993) in the classroom and elsewhere that provide support for the knowledge construction process. By definition, knowledge construction is an active, rather than a passive process. Within a learning environment the implications or practices of constructivism are pervasive. They include using curricula customised to the students’ prior knowledge, the tailoring of teaching strategies to student backgrounds and responses, and employing open-ended questions that promote extensive dialogue among learners (Rovai, 2004). Receptive and responsive questioning is a vital component within this framework; eliciting students’ effective construction of meaning.
Contingent tutoring is a wholly constructivist concept and teaching process; based on building on only what the learner can do and consequently, continuously readjusting. A contingent tutoring scenario consists of a learner who is trying to achieve a goal and who appears to be struggling. The contingent tutor would then immediately offer their assistance. If the learner remains stuck then the tutor would immediately provide more explicit instruction, proceeding to provide more and more support. The alternative development of this scenario would be that after the tutor’s initial assistance, the learner overcomes their early struggles and subsequently the tutor can draw back their levels of assistance based on the further successes of the learner. In contingent tutoring teachers are continually adapting their behaviour to the individual learner in a wholly reactive manner.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of contingent tutoring. For example, Pratt and Savoy-Levine (1998) manipulated the type of instruction to which learners were exposed to in order to study the effectiveness of contingent instructional principles and found that contingent tutoring was significantly more effective than other types of instruction in terms of long-term maintenance and near generalisation of mathematics skill learning.
However, it must be noted that contingent tutoring appears to be rather scarce in the classroom (Van de Pol, Volman, & Beishuizen
), primarily because of how difficult it is to perform successfully and effectively.

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Phillips (1995) provided a taxonomy for classifying constructivism classroom approaches. Phillips proposed that the emphasis on active participation by learners is the positive implication of constructivism. It predisposes students towards classroom participation and subject matter engagement. The engagement of learners promotes attention to subject matter and hence improves learning. Phillips argues that the negative side to constructivism is the fact that some knowledge previously held may not be overwritten by new information. The ugly side of constructivism, according to Phillips, is that there is a general failure for educators to try new teaching styles or older teaching styles. This taxonomy has implications for the general use of constructivism in the educational system.

Most teachers and students familiar with constructivism tend to focus on the idea of individual cognition and active participation within a social context (Hyslop-Margison and Sears, 2006). The argument is that knowledge is constructed on a cognitive level and supported by a learner’s prior knowledge. Constructivism strongly supports the idea that knowledge is socially mediated. It is argued that knowledge is dependent on the desired learning outcome and the situational context (Duffy and Jonassen, 1992).  Lorsbach and Tobin (2005), state that ‘constructivism asserts that knowledge resides in individuals; that knowledge cannot be transferred intact from the head of a teacher to the heads of students.’ This does not mean that learners cannot evaluate the evidence in support of the claims made by the teacher. Doing so creates greater ownership of the provided knowledge. However, in this case, knowledge is socially rather than individually constructed.

Many teachers may claim that that knowledge is constructed without fully understanding what this means for learning and for education in general (Hyslop-Margison and Sears, 2006). This has implications for classroom teaching.  Some teachers lose the distinction between knowledge and belief. Not all belief is knowledge but all knowledge requires belief. Siegel (2004) argues that the construction of beliefs is a necessary condition of knowledge, however, it cannot be sufficient since beliefs can be false or ill formed as well as true or justified. Radical constructivism implies that there is a possibility that learners may adopt two extreme ideas – learners may claim that everything is true or nothing is true by misguidedly equating constructed individual belief with knowledge. Radical constructivism lacks any criteria that distinguish belief from knowledge. By extensive reconsideration of ideas, students learn that their constructed beliefs do not necessarily qualify as knowledge and that knowledge emerges from sources other than their own individual cognition.

The ability to ground one’s knowledge with evidence is essential. It is also essential to appreciate the distinction between fact and value. Constructivists such as Piaget (1954), Dewey (1929) and Vygotsky (1978) all maintain that students arrive in any learning situation with a range of prior knowledge and experience that influences how they respond to new information. Both teachers and learners do not like to change their minds; this is particularly true if the change includes considering ideas that are radically different from what they presently hold. Learners often resist changing their minds until contradictory evidence is overwhelming (Chinn and Brewer, 1993) resulting in them becoming uncomfortable with their current way of thinking (Strike and Posner, 1985). It is proposed that good teachers can discover what learners already believe and can thus adjust the learner’s conceptual understanding by reducing cognitive dissonance.

The general claim that all knowledge is constructed is not very helpful. This claim may limit the application of more traditional teaching approaches, such as tutoring and lecturing; that are equally effective within some teaching and learning contexts.

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The main role of a teacher who takes a constructivist approach is to prompt the learner to construct ideas. The teacher must not simply tell the answer. Teacher educators are increasingly asking new teachers to elicit and then use student’s existing knowledge and ideas as a basis for allowing them to construct new, more accurate and more disciplined understandings (Holt-Reynolds, 2000). It has been shown, however, that many teachers struggle to grasp the meaning of constructivism and can become increasingly confused about what their role actually involves (Holt-Reynolds, 2000).

It has been suggested that teachers must also have an understanding of their students and the environment (Hausfather, 2001). This involves them knowing their students’ abilities and learning strategies, their developmental levels, attitudes, motivation and their pre-misconceptions. Regarding environment; teachers must be aware of the social, political, cultural and physical environment. Teacher programs should also ensure that their prospective teachers have a deep understanding of their teaching content; this will allow them to increase their students understanding (Cochran et al., 1993). It will also allow them to make deeper connections between learning objectives. 

Teachers must be aware that in the constructivist approach learning content does not come first; student’s previous knowledge, experiences and ideas come first. This allows for content knowledge to be built upon student knowledge through the active involvement of students (Hausfather, 2001).

Constructivism is a learner centred process. However, there are arguments that this is not the teaching approach which produces the best results. The Laurillard model is a conversational model which allows for learning to be distributed equally between the teacher and the learner. This allows for the continuation of partnership between student and teachers which means that both are equally involved in the learning process.

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Most constructivists agree that previous teaching models, such as the transmission model, fail to ensure that previously held knowledge integrates with new knowledge. This relationship is needed in order to ensure that deep learning occurs (Richardson, 1997). Constructivism involves making connections between knowledge and experience; these connections are powerful for students as they allow them to develop deeper understandings (Best, 1995). Interdisciplinary approaches can enrich these connections across disciplines allowing for deeper understandings across a vast area of knowledge (Martinello and Cook, 2000). Furthermore, Chapman and colleagues (2005), argue that constructivism encourages learners to develop meaningful, scaffolded, student directed deep learning. This implies that constructivism allows learners to construct their own knowledge with adequate support from teachers, and thus they are able to make correct connections between their knowledge which enhances the deep learning process.

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One of the main principles of constructivism is the active role of the learner. As previously mentioned constructivism is learner centred. This implies that learners are in control of their own learning experiences and their future knowledge is dependent on their current understandings and experiences. In other words, learners are actively constructing their own knowledge (Dufresne et al., 1996). It is important to note, however, that the students are not actively deciding the basic content of the curriculum. This is done by teachers and educators. The students can, however, actively decide to learn more about one topic and less about another.

According to constructivists, learners bring their own needs and experiences to learning situations and are motivated to act on those situations. Incorporating these needs into learning activities allows students to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning (Grabinger and Dunlop, 1995). In order for constructivism to work as a concept students need to be motivated to learn. If they are no engaged in the subject matter then a constructivist approach will not work. This is why it is important to ensure that learning activities are engaging and realistic. 

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In order to change perspectives in knowledge, learners must reflect on previously attained knowledge and then act on feedback given by the teacher or a fellow peer. The learner must acknowledge that the feedback is correct and thus must change their way of thinking in order to solve similar problems (Chinn and Brewer, 1993). By reflecting on feedback, learners can change their currently held beliefs in order to ensure the development of new conflicting knowledge. In order to ensure that the feedback they have received is correct; the learner must also reflect on the feedback in regards to how likely the feedback is to be correct. This process may be looped several times in order to overwrite existing incorrect knowledge.

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Moller (1998) proposed that constructivism should be applied in distance education and education technology. In the modern era, technology is being increasingly employed in order to facilitate learning. Technology provides situations and offers tools that encourage learners to reach their cognitive potential (Scardamalia et al., 1989).

By using the Web, the learner can actively search and discover sources that allow them to solve problems and construct their own knowledge. Chat room sand forums allow learners to share information in order to develop a deeper meaning through discussion and also reflect on the knowledge they have constructed (Jonassen, 2000). Technology allows learning to be both personal and a social activity. The role of technology is the same as that of a teacher; to be a facilitator in online learning (Chen, 1997).

The combination of constructivism and technology will allow the enhancement of distance learning. This is especially important for adult learners.

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Distance education has become a familiar element of higher education and it continues to rapidly expand. The World Wide Web is the second major wave of the digital revolution that began with the introduction of the personal computer in the 1980s. Amongst other things the web has become an advantageous medium for education and distance learning; a vehicle for realising the vision of educational thinkers like Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky, who long advocated a constructivist or ‘meaning centred’ approach to learning and teaching (Wilson and Lowry, 2000). Distance learning provides a unique context in which to infuse constructivist principles where learners are expected to function as self-motivated, self-directed, interactive, collaborative participants in their learning experiences by virtue of their physical location (Tam, 2000).

Holmberg previously defined distance education as being “not under the continuous immediate supervision of tutors…but which, nevertheless, benefit from the planning, guidance and teaching of a supporting organisation” (Holmberg, 1989: 3).

It has been argued that within distance education settings, where learners are not in close physical proximity to the instructors and where technology mediates the learning experience, there is a stronger need for the construction of technology-supported constructivist learning environments wherein students are required to work collaboratively with each other (Romiszowski and de Haas, 1989).

Holmberg (1990) contended that “today’s distance education is either identical with or a direct descendent of traditiona correspondence education” (Holmberg, 1990: 55).

However, Garrison (1993) argues that what makes learning educational is the transaction between the teachers and learner. The teacher is not an optional resource in an educational transaction, because the teacher communicates social values and knowledge. It is difficult to see how pre-packaged self-instructional materials represent serious limitations in relation to cognitive development.

Ultimately, constructivist principles serve to provide a set of directorial ideologies to help designers and instructors create learner-centred, technology-supported collaborative environments that support reflective and experiential processes. When applied to the distance learning context, there is no doubt that constructivism and the use of new technologies will help transform significantly the way distance education should be conducted.

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Adult learners tend to bring their own unique learning characteristics to learning situations and thus it is important that teachers can recognise these characteristics in order to allow adults to learn in the best possible way (Ference and Vockell, 1994). Also, adult learners tend to be more self directed learners and thus are actively participating learners. This implies that the constructivist approach is a good method to employ when teaching adult learners. It must be noted that adult learners need more motivation for learning as they have other responsibilities. This means that educators must provide positive reinforcement in order to increase the chances of success.

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Attempts to implement a constructivist program within the learning environment have been investigated to observe whether such an interactive curriculum does actually improve academic performance or whether the concept has mere epistemological groundings. In support, a body of empirical evidence has found that constructivist teaching improves academic performance (e.g. Yahong, Weihong, and Li, 2011; Bogar,  Kalender, and  Sarikaya, 2012; Kim, 2005), this may be because research has shown that students benefit from a learning environment that allows them to exercise control over their learning experiences and be responsible for their own learning performance (Tenenbaum, Naidu, Jegede, and Austin 2001).

In addition, students also report that they prefer a constructivist method of learning (Kim, 2005). For example, Loyens, Rikers, and Schmidt (2009) investigated conceptions of constructivist learning amongst 1st-3rdyear university students studying psychology who followed either a conventional or constructivist learning curriculum. They found that 2nd year students agreed more with constructivist concepts: knowledge construction, self-regulation, and authentic tasks, than did 1st year students. These results suggest that as students gain greater experience in their educational program they become more convinced about the benefits and impact of constructivist activities on their leaning.

Although a number of studies have found constructivist teaching helps improve a student’s academic performance, evidence has also found limitations to constructivism in practice. First, no effect has been found for constructivism enhancing students’ self-concepts, or changing their learning strategies to more effective ones. Of more concern is that constructivist teaching has been found to increase motivation within students, which although increased the likelihood of students to self-monitor their own learning, also increased students’ anxiety levels towards their studies (Kim, 2005). In addition, Loyens et al. (2009) also found that students in a constructivist learning environment have more feelings of doubt concerning their learning capabilities.

Although the constructivist description of learning is deemed accurate, another criticism of constructivism concerns its prescription of an effective instructional design theory and implementation of constructivist teaching-learning techniques (e.g. Clark & Estes, 1998). For example, the role of the teacher within constructivism is to facilitate learning rather than teach it and let the student to learn for themselves. However evidence over the last half a century suggests that minimally guided instruction is ineffective (e.g. Cronbach & Snow, 1977; Klahr & Nigam, 2004; Mayer, 2004). Further, there is no evidence that providing partial information to the learner will enhance their ability to construct a mental representation of the external world more than providing them with the full information will; learners will construct a mental representation irrespective of whether they are provided with complete or partial information. Complete information will simply result in representations being more easily formulated and more accurate. Strong, direct instructional guidance, even for students with considerable prior knowledge, is found to be the most effective method of teaching. Worryingly, not only is unguided instruction normally less effective, there is also evidence that it may even have negative effects on learning as it puts the student at risk of acquiring misconceptions about a topic or forming incomplete or disorganised knowledge (Kirschner Sweller, and Clark, 2006).

Despite the common principles of constructivism, constructivist approaches to instruction still appear to differ widely in terms of what ‘assisting performance’ and ‘construction of knowledge’ may mean (Harris & Graham, 1994), therefore a final problem with the practical implementation of Constructivism is ensuring that it is practiced properly. For example, Savasci and Berlin (2012) collected data from four science teachers and found that although the teachers did embrace constructivism, classroom observations did not demonstrate its implementation in 3 of the 4 teachers. Savaci & Berlin (2012) found that the most prevalent constructivist approaches were student negotiation and personal relevance. However the least prevalent component was shared control. Shared control was observed the least for each teacher. Windschitl (2002) also found teachers struggled to implement constructivist practice within the classroom.

Constructivism in maths and science


The majority of studies concerning constructivism in practice are conducted with maths and science students (e.g. Bogar et al., 2012; Kim, 2005; Savasci & Berlin, 2012, Yahong et al., 2011). Constructivism is one of the major influences in present-day science and maths education (Matthews, 1993) and the majority of articles concerning constructivism in practice will be found investigating its effect on performance for these subjects. Although as mentioned below the outcomes of constructivist teaching for maths and science are of interest, such a research focus does limit our knowledge of whether pragmatic constructivism is beneficial in all subjects.

Constructivist teaching within maths and science is of current interest as these are subjects which are typically taught using a traditional approach to teaching, e.g. via rote learning and the enforcement of right and wrong answers, more than say English, which has to a certain extent always encouraged the learner to think and form an opinion. Therefore it is of interest what the effect on academic performance will be in maths and science subjects when the teacher helps the student understand what they are learning and helps them form an opinion on matters, rather than simply telling them the ‘correct’ answer. Further, such an approach towards maths and science subjects are of interest to philosophers as if everyone forms their own opinion on the external world through experience, then this brings about the question of what ‘reality’ really is, as knowledge will no longer be an objective phenomenon, but a subjective understanding (Kim, 2005).

Studies on the instrumental application of constructivism for reading and writing can also be found, however these tend to focus on younger children and learning and often bring up the issue of learning disabilities amongst younger children and whether constructivism can work for these children. 

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The perceived benefits to a constructivist learning environment include holistic learning opportunities, the enhancement of collaborative/cooperative skills and time and appreciation for metacognitive reflection (Resnick & Klopfer, 1989).Holistic learning encompasses absorption and synthesis of individual facts, building relationships between these facts and linking this knowledge with understanding of other knowledge domains. It is a process that involves engaging all of one’s perceptual senses, creativity, and intellectual prowess in the learning process (Kraft & Sakofs, 1988).

 

Furthermore, Brooks and Brooks (1993) suggest that the constructivist approach goes beyond constructivist practices and activities; by not treating students as passive learners , more respect is shown to students as learners and as human beings. It is very important for the instructor to be aware of initial student misunderstandings to provide the kinds of experiences that will allow the student to learn.

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BBogar, Y., Kalender, S., & Sarikaya, M. (2012). The effects of constructive learning method on students' academic achievement, retention of knowledge, gender and attitudes towards science course in "matter of structure and characteristics" unit. Social and Behavioural Sciences, 46, 1766-1770.

Brooks, J. G. and Brooks, M. G. (1993). In search of understanding: the case for constructivist classrooms, Alexandria, VA: American Society for Curriculum Development

Chapman, C., Ramondt, L., & Smiley, G. (2005). Strong community, deep learning: Exploring the link. Innovations in eductaion and teaching international, 42, 3, 217-230.

Dufresne, R, J., Gerace, W, J., Leonard, W, J., & Mestre, J. (1996). Classtalk: A clasroom communication system for active learning. Journal of computing in Higher Education, 7, 2, 3-47.

Garrison, D. R. (1993). A cognitive constructivist view of distance education: An analysis of teachinglearning assumptions. Distance education, 14(2), 199 211. 

Grabinger, S., & Dunlop, J. (1995). Rich environments for active learning: a definition. Research in learning technology, 3, 2.

Hausfather, S. (2001). Where's the content? The role of content in constructivist teacher education. Educational Horizons, 80, 1, 15-20.

Holmberg, B. (1989) Theory and practice of distance education. London: Routledge.

Holmberg, B. (1990) A paradigm shift in distance education? Mythology in the making. ICDE Bulletin, 22, 51-55

Holt-Reynolds, D. (2000). What does the teacher do?: Constructivist pedagogies and prospective teachers' beliefs about the role of a teacher.Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 1, 21-32.

Huang Hsiu-Mei. (2002) Toward constructivism for adult learners in online environments. Teaching and Teacher Education, 33, 1, 27-37.

Hyslop-Margison, E., & Strobel, J. (2007). Constructivism and Education: Misunderstndings and pedagogical implications. The teacher Educator, 43, 1, 72-86.

Kraft, D., & Sakofs, M. (Eds.). (1988). The theory of experiential education. Boulder, CO: Association for Experiential Education 

Phillips, D, C. (1995). The good, the bad, and the ugly: The many faces of constructivism. Educational Researcher, 24, 7, 5-12.

Pratt, M. W., & Savoy-Levine, K. M. (1998). Contingent tutoring of long-division skills in fourth and fifth graders: Experimental tests of some hypotheses about scaffolding. Journal of applied developmental psychology, 19(2), 287-304.

Resnick, L. B., & Klopfer, L. E. (1989). Toward the Thinking Curriculum: Current Cognitive Research. 1989 ASCD Yearbook. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1250 N. Pitt St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1403. 

Richardson, V. (1997). Constructivist teacher education: Building a world of new understandings. Routledge.

Romiszowski, A. J., & de Haas, J. A. (1989). Computer Mediated Communication for Instruction: Using e-Mail as a Seminar. Educational Technology, 29(10), 7-14.

Rovai, A. P. (2004). A constructivist approach to online college learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 79-93.

Savasci, F., & Berlin, D, F. (2012). Science teacher beliefs and classroom practice related to constructivism in different school settings. Journal of science teacher education, 23, 1, 65-86.

Sprague, D., & Dede, C. (1999). Constructivism in the classroom: If I teach this way, am i doing my job? Learning and leading with technology, 27, 1, 6-9.

Tam, M. (2000). Constructivism, Instructional Design, and Technology: Implications for Transforming Distance Learning. Educational Technology and Society, 3, 2, 1436-1452.

Wilson, B., & Lowry, M. (2000). Constructivist learning on the web. New Directions for adult and continuing education, 2000(88), 79-88. 

Windschit, M. (2002). Framing constructivism in practice as the negotiation of dilemmas: An analysis of the conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political challenges facing teachers. Review of educational research, 72, 2, 131-175.

Yahong, H., Weihong, W., & Li, J. (2011). Teaching discrete mathematics with the constructivism learning theory. Computer science and education, 815-816.

Zemelman, S. D. (2007). H., & Hyde, A.(1993). Best practice: New standards for teaching and learning in America’s schools. 

Influential contributors to Constructivism


Recommended reading:

Ültanir, E. (2012). An epistemological glance at the constructivist approach: constructivist learning in Dewey, Piaget, and Montessori. International Journal of Instruction, 5(2), 195-212.

Additional References:

Applefield, J. M., Huber, R., & Moallem, M. (2000). Constructivism in Theory and Practice: Toward a Better Understanding.The High School Journal, 84(2), 35-53.

Bulut, İ. (2006). Yeni İlköğretim birinci kademe programlarının uygulamadaki etkililiğinin değerlendirilmesi. Yayımlanmamış Doktora Tezi. Fırat Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Eğitim Bilimleri Ana Bilim Dalı.

Dewey, John. (1966). Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press.

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education.New York: Collier.

Gruber, H.E. & Voneche, J.J. (1977). The essential Piaget.. New York: Basic Books.

Kivinen, O., & Ristela, P. (2003). From constructivist to pragmatic conception of learning. Oxford review of education, 29(3), 363-375.

Montessori, M. (1997). Çocuk Eğitimi: Montessori Metodu (Education for Child: Montessori Method ). Çev. Güler Yücel, Özgür Yayınları, İstanbul.

Montessori, M.(1995). The absorbent mind. New York. Holt and Company. (Original work published , 1949).

Piaget, J. (1971). Science of education and the psychology of the child. New York: Viking Press (French: Psychologie et pedagogie, 1969). Sf. 27.

Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1969). The Psychology of the Child, transl. H Weaver. New York: Basic Books.

Piaget, J. (1953). To understand is to invent. New York: Grossman (French: Ou va I’education?, 1948).

Vico, G. (1710). De antiquissima Italorum sapientia. (With Italian translation by F.S.Pomodoro, Stamperia de’ Classici Latini, Naples, 1858).

Does constructivism work for everyone?


Recommended reading:

Kim, J. S. (2005). The effects of a constructivist teaching approach on student academic achievement, self-concept, and learning strategies. Asia Pacific Education Review, 6(1), 7-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF03024963


Kirscher, P. A., Sweller, J., Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep4102_1

Additional References:

Clark, R. E., & Estes, F. (1998). Technology or craft: What are we doing? Educational Technology, 38(5), 5–11.

Cronbach, L. J., & Snow, R. E. (1977). Aptitudes and instructional methods: A handbook for research on interactions.New York: Irvington.

Harris, K. R., Graham, S. (1994). Constructivism: principles, paradigms, and integration. The Journal of Special Education, 28(3), 233-247.

Klahr, D., & Nigam, M. (2004). The equivalence of learning paths in early science instruction: Effects of direct instruction and discovery learning. Psychological Science, 15, 661–667.

 Loyens, S. M. M., Remy, M. J. P. Rikers, and Schmidt, H. G. (2009). Students' conceptions of constructivist learning in different programme years and different learning environments. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 501-514.

Matthews, M. R. (1993). Constructivism and science education: some epistemological problems. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 2(1), 359-370.

Mayer, R. (2004). Should there be a three-strikes rule against pure discovery learning? The case for guided methods of instruction. American Psychologist, 59,14–19.

Tenenbaum. G., Naidu, S., Jegede, O., & Austin, J. (2001). Constructivist pedagogy in conventional

on-campus and distance learning practice: An exploratory investigation. Learning and

Instruction, 11, 87-111.

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