EDS-103 CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORIES - are the distinguishing features of constructivist theories? ... How do cognitive and social ... Think about how you learn. When you

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  • LEARNING OBJECTIVES POSTED AS ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

    What are the distinguishing features of constructivist theories?

    How is learning explained by constructivist theory?

    What is schema? How does it describe knowledge and learning?

    How do cognitive and social constructivist strands compare?

    How can constructivist learning theory be applied in the learning

    environment?

    9 CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORIES

    THEORIES OF LEARNING

    EDS-103

  • Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU 2

    Module 9: Constructivist Theories EDS 103 Theories of Learning

    Module 9. Constructivist Theories

    Source: Santrock, 2011, p. 219

    Introduction

    Besides the behavioral approach and other theories of learning, there are four major

    cognitive approachessocial cognitive, information-processing, and the constructivist

    approach which in turn is distinguished in two sub-types, cognitive and social (Figure 1). In

    this module, we focus our attention on the cognitive and social constructivist theories.

    Figure 1. Main approaches to learning (Santrock, 2011, p. 219).

    CONSTRUCTIVISM VERSUS INFORMATION PROCESSING

    Unlike information processing theories that focus on

    how information is recorded into long term memory,

    constructivists focus on the ways that learners

    construct knowledge in the working memory through

    their experiences and reflections on those experiences

    Such distinctions are important to note because

    approaches to teaching and learning vary according to

    the theoretical assumptions that underlie the practice.

    EDS 103 - THEORIES OF LEARNING

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  • Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU 3

    Module 9: Constructivist Theories EDS 103 Theories of Learning

    CONSTRUCTIVISM VERSUS DIRECT INSTRUCTION

    The constructivist approach is often distinguished from

    direct instruction. The former is learner-centered;

    teachers facilitate and guide learning; learning is an active

    construction of knowledge by the learners. In contrast,

    direct instruction is a highly structured teacher-centered

    approach; the teacher directs and controls most of the

    learning activities, which are laid out in a clear scope-and

    sequence program to maximize time utilization (Santrock,

    2011).

    COGNITIVE CONSTRUCTIVISM AND SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM

    There are two major strands in constructivist theory: cognitive constructivism and social

    constructivism. The two share common fundamental assumptionsthat people construct their

    own understanding and knowledge of the world, hence teachers facilitate and guide (rather

    than direct and mold) learning.

    (Chen, n.d.; Eggen & Kauchak, n.d.; Mayer, in Reigeluth,

    http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Invariant_Tasks:_Principles_for_Learning; Santrock, 2011).

    However, cognitive and social strands differ in their emphasis (Halford in Santrock, 2011,

    p.218), specifically:

    The cognitive constructivist approaches, grounded primarily on Piagets work,

    emphasize learners cognitive construction of knowledge and understanding).

    Piaget's theory of cognitive development describes how learners develop

    cognitive abilities [and] proposes that humans cannot be given information,

    in which they immediately understand and use. Instead, learners must

    construct their own knowledge. They build their knowledge through

    experience. Experiences enable them to create schemas mental models of

    the world. These schemas are changed, enlarged, and made more

    sophisticated through two complimentary processes: assimilation and

    accommodation.

    Source: The Performance Juxtaposition Site,

    http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/constructivism.html

    The social constructivist approaches, grounded on Vygotskys

    work, emphasize collaboration in the production of knowledge and

    understanding.

    We discuss these two strands in more detail in the sections that

    follow.

    Think about how you learn. When you hear, read, or see something new, does it help to talk about it and reflect on it to better understand the new information?

    From http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/ concept2class/constructivism/w1_think1.html

    The acquisition of knowledge and skills is a process of gradual progression that is characterized by the construction of knowledge rather than recording information.

    http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Invariant_Tasks:_Principles_for_Learninghttp://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/constructivism.htmlhttp://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/w1_think1.htmlhttp://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/w1_think1.html

  • Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU 4

    Module 9: Constructivist Theories EDS 103 Theories of Learning

    A. Piaget: Cognitive Constructivism

    Jean Piaget proposed a comprehensive stage theory regarding human development.

    However, in this module, we focus on the aspect of his works that served as a major

    foundation for cognitive constructivism. He posits that information as initially perceived by man

    is not in a form that is immediately understood and usable. Instead, he capitalizes on prior

    experiences to create mental modelsschemas. These mental models or schemas are

    gradually changed and modified, enlarged and made more sophisticated, as the individual

    acquires more experience. Learners construct knowledge by transforming, organizing, and

    reorganizing previous knowledge and information (Santrock, 2011, p. 334).

    SCHEMA

    Schemas refer to actions or mental representations of conceptually organized systems / networks of information. Infants have mostly behavioral schemas (physical activities like sucking, looking, and grasping), while mental schemas (cognitive activities like strategies and plans for solving problems) develop later in childhood and become enormously diverse in adulthood. They are mental frameworks, abstract mental structures that represent our understanding of the worldpsychological representations to perceive and understand reality. They allow new perceptions to be quickly organized (added into pre-existing beliefs and ideas) and enable action without much effort.

    Organization refers to the systemic grouping of (seemingly) disjointed bits of information in order to make sense of them.

    A schema of egg (Davis, 1991). Acquired from http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/implementaliteracyprogram/schematheoryoflearning.htm

    http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/implementaliteracyprogram/schematheoryoflearning.htm

  • Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU 5

    Module 9: Constructivist Theories EDS 103 Theories of Learning

    EXERCISE: What Schema?

    What could be this toddlers schema of blow your nose be?

    Characteristics of schemata

    Schemata are always organized meaningfully, can be added to, and, as an individual

    gains experience, develop to include more variables and more specificity.

    Each schema is embedded in other schemata and itself contains subschema.

    Schemata change moment by moment as information is received.

    They may also be reorganized when incoming data reveals a need to restructure the

    concept.

    The mental representations used during perception and comprehension, and which

    evolve as a result of these processes, combine to form a whole which is greater than the

    sum of its parts.

    Anderson (1977). http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/implementaliteracyprogram/SchemaTheoryOfLearning.htm

    Assumptions supported by the schema theory of learning

    It is important to present all the necessary lower-level facts before proceeding to teach at

    higher levels of the knowledge hierarchy.

    People can reason with higher-level concepts if they have learned all of the prerequisite

    lower-level information.

    It is important to use teaching steps which correspond to the internal sequence in which

    the brain processes information.

    Spaeth & Walter. http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/implementaliteracyprogram/InformationProcessingTheoryOfL.htm

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  • Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU 6

    Module 9: Constructivist Theories EDS 103 Theories of Learning

    colourbox.com

    Piaget's Theory of Constructivism

    A QUICK OVERVIEW

    Piaget's Theory of Constructivism

    Jean Piagets Cognitive Theory by McLeod

    KEY CONCEPTS ON LEARNING

    In addition to schema, which we have discussed in the previous section, the key concepts behind Piagets theory that apply to learning include assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration.

    Schema (Schemata) Schema is a concept that describes knowledge as an

    elaborate network of abstract mental structures which

    represent one's understanding of the world

    (http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/implementaliteracyprogr

    am/schematheoryoflearning.htm).

    Assimilation Assimilation refers to the incorporation of information into existing knowledge structures, without the