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Constructivism - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Constructivism. By Steve Gibbs. As compared to other theories. Learning. Student. Teacher. Teacher. Student. OTHER Teachers have a sphere of knowledge that they want to insert into the minds of their students. CONSTRUCTIVISTS

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By Steve Gibbs

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As compared to other theories







Teachers have a sphere of knowledge that they want to insert into the minds of their students


The sphere is created inside the mind of the student by creating a learning environment

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  • Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we color and construct our own understanding of the world we live in

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  • Each of us generates "rules" to make sense of our experiences

  • Learning is adjusting our rules to accommodate new experiences

  • Students can learn different meanings from the same lesson

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  • No knowledge can be transferred intact from one individual to another

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  • Information received is reshaped inside the learner’s mind to fitwithin his or her frame of reference

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Key player



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Jerome S Bruner

“I shall take it as self-evident that each generation must define afresh the nature, direction, and aims of education to assure such freedom and rationality as can be attainted for a future generation…

© 2004

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Jerome S Bruner

…It is in this sense that education is in constant process of invention.”

--Jerome S. BrunerToward a Theory of Instruction, 1966

© 2004

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Key issues



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How does learning occur?

  • The learner creates meaning from experience. The mind filters input from the external world to create its own singular version of reality

  • Teachers must start from where the students are to align learning with existing states of mind

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Which factors influence learning?

  • Learning is a search for meaning

  • Learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning

  • Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts

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What is the role of memory?

  • Constructivists view memory as the repository not for intact knowledge, but for flexible threads of information that can be reorganized in an unending variety of ways

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How does transfer occur?

  • Transfer can occur by involving learners in authentic tasks anchored within a meaningful context

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What types of learning are best explained by this theory?

  • Not best for introductory knowledge

  • Not best for rote memorization of rules and facts

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What types of learning are best explained by this theory?

  • However, for advanced knowledge acquisition, this learning theory works quite well

  • There are no preconceived limitations. The student is free to create their own construct

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What basic assumptions/principles are relevant to instructional design?

  • Educators focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students

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How to structure instruction? instructional design?

  • Tailor strategies to student responses

  • Encourage analysis, interpretation, prediction

  • Use open-ended questions and discussion

  • Connect past experiences with new learning

  • Use project-based learning

  • Use problem-based learning

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How to evaluate? instructional design?

  • Learners to construct their own meaning, no memorized "right" answers; no regurgitation

  • Formative assessment ensures students are learning during the process

  • Use holistic evaluation

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How to evaluate? instructional design?

  • Constructivism calls for the elimination of grades and standardized testing

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end instructional design?