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Positive Contributions of Constructivism to Educational Design

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This paper contrasts contemporary traditional and constructivist educational models to show that constructivist models have invaluable advantages over and are more effective than more traditional models. Bruner’s constructivist theory is discussed, as well as some of its influences, then traditional and constructivist educational models are contrasted point-for-point. The paper then refers to factual examples of successful constructivist education models in practice and suggests methods for using constructivist theory to improve traditionally designed curricula.
Europe’s Journal of Psychology, Vol 2, No 1 (2006)
Positive Contributions of Constructivism to Educational
Brian Pagán
University College Maastricht
Address: Hoenderstraat 13B, 6211 EL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tel: Weekdays: +31 (0) 61 546 8341; Weekends: +49 (0) 6561 968 619
I would like to thank Pascal van Gerven of the Maastricht University Faculty of Psychology for his support and
guidance while writing this paper. He is an excellent instructor and he provided me with valuable insights, which I still
apply today.
This paper contrasts contemporary traditional and constructivist educational models to show that constructivist
models have invaluable advantages over and are more effective than more traditional models. Bruner’s constructivist
theory is discussed, as well as some of its influences, then traditional and constructivist educational models are
contrasted point-for-point. The paper then refers to factual examples of successful constructivist education models in
practice and suggests methods for using constructivist theory to improve traditionally designed curricula.
Positive Contributions of Constructivism to Educational Design
A major theme in Bruner’s constructivist theory is that learning is an active process, whereby students learn best by
constructing new ideas and building new schemas based upon current and past knowledge. The cognitive processes
behind this construction draw heavy influence from cultural and social aspects of students’ lives, implementation of
rewards and punishments, and students’ motivation to learn the material. Educational models that utilize
constructivist theory consider these influences and attempt to match education systems and curricula to each socio-
culturally distinct group of students. They also build programs and train instructors to encourage students to discover
principles on their own, using the knowledge they already have to embrace and internalize information (Mos, 2003).
Traditional education models, however, do not employ these techniques and are based on outdated educational
theory. With socio-cultural diversity being an ever-growing issue for educators and educational system designers,
constructivist education models should be more widely used in education.
To support this statement, this paper will first delve into Bruner’s constructivist theory. It will then examine traditional
and constructivist educational models, listing each one’s pros and cons. The paper will contrast real-life examples of
constructivist and traditional educational models and discuss ways to improve curricula by using constructivist
Bruner’s Constructivist Theory
The main theme inherent in constructivism is that people learn by constructing new ideas and concepts by
interpreting them through comparison with previous knowledge. People attribute meaning to new ideas, and this
process represents learning (Hein, 1991). This implies that learning is not about simply being exposed to new
information but is an active process whereby learners examine, code, decode, and interpret new concepts and ideas.
Learners select and transform information, construct “hypotheses,” and rely on cognitive structures to build and
refine their schemas (Kever, 2003; Mos, 2003). Broken down, Bruner emphasizes that people interpret their world
through the similarities and differences between objects and events. Learners thus compare new ideas to the ones
they already have and learn through the similarities and differences they find. A person’s socio-cultural background
and situation play a highly important role in dictating what sorts of information that person will learn, as well as
forming the cognitive processes that person uses to build and use schemas (Kever, 2003).
These principles are central to the discussion of education design improvement later in this paper, and they owe much
to ideas proposed by Jean Piaget. While working with children to improve standardized intelligence testing, he
modified the standard methods by going further than simply recording a child’s answer. Piaget encouraged children to
reason about the problem he posed to them. Through this, he discovered that younger children were not “dumber”
than older ones, nor were they behind in any way. Younger children simply thought about things in a completely
different way than did the older ones, because they have a conception of the world that is distinct from that of older
children (Gardner, 1972).
Piaget examined the differences between younger and older children’s cognition, and Bruner examines the differences
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between that of different cultures. These differences between cultures in this sense arise from necessity. All cultures
develop habits, traditions, and activities adapted to their specific needs. These needs stem from environmental and
many other factors, and the culture’s cognitive development and learning, as well as the relative strengths and
weaknesses pertinent to creating and adapting schemas, are adapted specifically to help meet these needs
(Glassman, 1996). This is the basic overview of how people’s environments and cultures play key roles in their
cognitive development, and this paper will now discuss some aspects of Bruner’s constructivism that more directly
relate to education.
Constructivist Education Theory
In addition to recognizing that people from different cultures learn in different ways, Bruner also developed an almost
universally applicable instruction theory. The idea behind this theory hold to basic constructivism in that an
instructor’s main task is to translate information to be learned into a format suited for students’ state of
understanding. Constructivist instruction theory addresses four highly important aspects of the learning process, (1)
students’ predisposition towards learning, (2) how to structure knowledge that it can be most readily understood by
the learner, (3) the most effective sequence in which to present material, and (4) the nature and pacing of
motivational rewards and punishments. Instructors should encourage students to discover the principles of the lesson
themselves, primarily by engaging in active dialogue with the instructor and other students (Mos, 2003). Active
dialogues is a part of Socratic learning, based on Socrates’ premise that discussion engages a student’s mind more
than listening to lectures. This is because discussion involves active participation on the student’s part, instead of
passively hearing a lecturer or teacher. Having outlined educational constructivism’s key premises, this paper will
contrast traditional and constructivist educational models.
Educational Design Models
Educational design, is not as straightforward as many believe. It is characterized by a heterogeneity that causes
pressures and expectations to vary across the field, but some common issues face all designers. These issues include
(1) choosing the most effective teaching, learning, and assessment methods, (2) developing the learning
environment, and (3) integrating students’ experience into various course elements (Bines, 1992a). Both
constructivist and traditional educational models address these issues. The differences, however, lie in the ways they
address them, and the next section will contrast these ways.
Traditional Educational Design Models
Traditional education seeks to transfer knowledge into students’ memory and measures its success through
monitoring students’ responding to questions in the exact way that they were taught to (Boekaerts, 1996). This
subject material reproduction emphasizes exam scores and final answers, rather than the way students arrive at their
answers. With the high amount of control afforded traditional education designers, they tend to make use of a
content-first design approach. They analyze content and prerequisites first, outline curricula, then generate teaching
plans, which they mostly expect instructors to follow closely (Skaalid, 2003). Designers thus choose or design
teaching methods based on their efficiency in exposing students to information. For example, lectures, with one
instructor lecturing to as many as 400 students, empower a few staff members to distribute information to a large
number of students. This method is time efficient; because once a designer creates a curriculum intended for the
lecture method, instructors do not need to do extra work or planning on their own. The lecture method is also fiscally
efficient, allowing schools to reduce tuition fees, construction costs, and logistics costs. Another example is the
smaller-scale classroom-teaching model, where an instructor lectures to between 20 and 30 students and takes time
to address individual students’ questions and provide a small measure of extra help. While this method is not as cost
effective as lecturing to larger audiences, it is more effective in bringing information to students and reinforcing its
successful transfer, because instructors can concentrate more on individual students than in a lecture (Bines, 1992a,
1992b). Important to note with regard to both of these instructor-centered education methods is that talking among
students is strictly discouraged. Students are traditionally only allowed to speak to the instructor after requesting
permission to do so, usually by raising a hand and waiting to be addressed by the instructor (Schuh, 2003). The most
interaction students could have under a traditional education system would be recitation of answers in a classroom,
prompted by an instructor (Aulls, 2002). Traditional teaching methodology depends on efficient and one-way transfer
of information directly from few instructors to many students with minimal or no student discussion.
Such teaching methods encourage learning methods like rote memorization, in which students commit blocks of
information to memory. These blocks of information usually include a question and its answer, and students often
gather information into lists for easier memorization. Chronological processes (such as the steps of the water cycle)
and nomenclature lists (the parts of the brain) are especially suited for this learning method, because one can easily
memorize words in sequence and recite them from memory, without having to understand or think about what the
words mean. Students can facilitate this memorization process through repetition by verbally repeating words, using
flashcards, creating songs to sing repeatedly, etc. (Bines, 1992a, 1992b). These teaching and learning methods are
parts of teacher-centered education models and best represent traditional methodologies and education models
(Schuh, 2003). Since these methods simply bring information from the instructor to the students, there is not much
variation possible in instructors’ curricula. Once an educational designer creates a curriculum, instructors simply
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deliver it, occasionally adjusting for slower or faster students as the need arises. The high level of control possessed
by educational designers in this case allows them to utilize highly automatable assessment methods, like multiple-
choice testing. These assessment methods are highly susceptible to automation, because students have little choice
in their responses, and variation in student response is quite limited, like the instructor’s curricula, as mentioned
above. Automation possibilities include computer-assisted grading, with which multiple choice examinations are
highly compatible. For example, Scantron is a computer-assisted assessment method that takes full advantage of
multiple-choice exams and their compatibility with computer technology. Students mark their responses on a sheet of
paper separate from the sheet upon which exam questions are printed. The response sheet has small boxes itemized
by numbers and grouped by response possibilities (A, B, C, etc.). During the exam, students color in the small boxes
with a pencil. After the exam, the instructor inserts the response sheets into a scanning machine that allows a
computer to compare each student’s responses with those laid out on an instructor-made answer sheet. This
computerized Scantron method saves instructors time and educational institutions money. Again, traditional
education methodologies show their appeal to financial planners (Bines, 1992b). Another appeal that traditional
methodologies hold is the maintenance of objectivity in assessment. As discussed, traditional education models rely
on directly exposing students to information and base assessments on students’ responding in exactly the way the
instructor(s) taught them (Boekaerts, 1996). These models also favor instructor-centered teaching methods, learning
methods, and assessments, representing the first of the three common educational design issues (Schuh, 2003).
The second common issue in educational design is the learning environment. A traditional learning environment,
much like the methodologies associated with traditional education models, is instructor-centered. It is common in
traditional education settings for instructors to remain distant from their students, especially in lecture settings.
Indeed, it is quite difficult for a single lecturer to develop strong relationships with the 400 students enrolled in his
course. Even in classroom-teaching settings, instructors only build relationships with his students insofar as he
interacts with them. Interaction is the key learning factor, and it is lacking in most classroom-teaching environments
(Schuh, 2003). As mentioned, students are discouraged from talking, both amongst themselves and with instructors.
This atmosphere severely restricts the interaction level between students and instructors and prevents instructors
from building relationships with their students. According to traditional educational designers, such interaction and
relationship building is unnecessary to the education process. They maintain that students need only speak to
instructors if they have questions or problems assimilating the instructor’s presented information, because speaking
by students only interrupts instructors’ delivery of the material. Such interruptions should only occur when necessary
(Bines, 1992a). The learning environments provided by traditional education models are instructor-driven, usually
quite formal, promote the retention of distance between students and instructors, and discourage verbal activity on
students’ parts. Traditional education models barely need to approach the third common educational design issue.
Integrating students’ experience into various course elements is unnecessary for these educational models. Since
traditional education features instructors dispensing knowledge at passive students, the students’ level of knowledge
is almost irrelevant. Of course, in designing educational curricula, one must ensure that students are capable of
comprehending the information, but traditional education does not usually go deeper than that. A typical traditional
curriculum will include prerequisites for courses that ensure that all students enrolled in a course are equipped with
minimum qualifications to understand the material presented to them. At most, educational planners will develop
multiple courses pertaining to the same subject matter, but approaching it at different levels, something along the
lines of novice, advanced, and expert (Bines, 1992b). To summarize, traditional educational models utilize instructor-
centered methodologies, foster formal, non-interactive learning environments, and retain a low level of integration of
students’ previous experience.
Constructivist Educational Design Models
Constructivist educational models address the same three education issues in completely different ways than
traditional models. Constructivist teaching methods are student-centered, not instructor-centered. Where traditional
education models emphasize direct transfer of information from instructor to student, constructivist models
emphasize less instructor participation and much more student action. In fact, constructivist education is based on
students’ work, rather than that of instructors (Schuh, 2003). Constructivist classes are made up of small groups,
usually comprising between five and 16 students and one instructor. The main idea is that the instructor will help
students develop effective course goals, and students work together to accomplish those goals. Such education is
built upon discussion among students with only brief and necessary guidance from instructors. This implies that
constructivist designers make use of a different approach than traditional educational designers. Also different from
traditional models is the constructivist encouragement of student interaction and discussion. The major role that
discussion plays results from Socratic learning theory, mentioned above. Aulls refers to such discussion as academic
discourse and notes that substantive academic discourse facilitates students’ exploration of curriculum topics and
material. Such discussion is more than simple, mundane exchanges between instructors and students; it involves
students talking about the subject and arriving at their own conclusions (Aulls, 2002). Instructors should not be
interested so much in students’ responses, but the way students arrive at and defend those responses. In this
process, students display elements of scientific reasoning. One some level, all students should recognize problems,
formulate hypotheses, construct mental models, research and test their hypotheses, adjust their mental models, and
reach conclusions with minimal guidance from instructors (Echevarria, 2003). This high student emphasis level,
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however, creates a large unpredictability factor for education designers. Constructivist designers embrace this factor
in the design phase by keeping pre-specified content to a minimum and ensuring that instructors encourage students
to actively seek their own knowledge sources to deepen and enrich their comprehension of the course material
(Skaalid, 2003). What most constructivist designers do is formulate clear course goals, comprehension objectives
that students should accomplish by the end of a course. These goals provide a structure and clear “measuring stick”
for instructors while empowering students with as much academic freedom as possible. Indeed, this academic
freedom most clearly illustrates instructors’ role in constructivist education. The most important of constructivist
instructors’ tasks is keeping students on track and guiding them toward the accomplishment of course goals
(Echevarria, 2003). Such goals also provide students with contextual frameworks that help them determine from
which perspective they approach course material (Boekaerts, 1996). Another difference between traditional and
constructivist course design is instructor involvement in the design process. Traditional designers usually perform the
process without much interaction between themselves and course instructors. On the other hand, constructivist
course designers usually work closely with instructors to ensure smooth design implementation and eliminate any
nasty surprises that could hinder the learning process (Skaalid, 2003). In summary, constructivist teaching
methodology is student-centered, emphasizes the ways students construct their knowledge, and encourages students
to interact with each other as much as possible.
These constructivist teaching methods require high student activity levels, and the corresponding learning methods
reflect those levels. The most important constructivist learning method is problem solving. Petraglia maintains that
effective constructivist education provides problems that students must handle like real-life problems and that people
solve problems better through social cognition rather than alone. Constructivist course goals should provide realistic
problems that elicit social cognition, facilitate student application of external knowledge sources, and encourage
students to utilize scientific reasoning (Echevarria, 2003; Petraglia, 1998). Scientific reasoning is another learning
technique that students employ in constructivist education. As mentioned above, students must formulate and test
hypotheses, build and adjust mental models, and form conclusions based on the course material and their own
research (Echevarria, 2003). Through this process and lack of excessive interference by instructors, students also
develop self-regulation techniques. Common personal attributes associated with good self-regulation are heightened
self-efficacy, willingness to participate, commitment, time management, and efficient strategy use (Boekaerts, 1996).
In addition, the group work and cooperative discussions in constructivist education allow students to hone their
communication and argumentation methods. These methods are more skills that students can use outside the
classroom, and they reinforce social cognition (Aulls, 2002). Constructivist learning techniques not only help students
learn as efficiently as possible, they also give students the opportunity to practice and perfect skills needed in real
life. Since students have so much academic roaming area, constructivist educational designers cannot rely on
objective, direct assessments the way traditional ones can. In order to remain flexible to meet the assessment needs
of flexible curricula, constructivist instructors must assess their students with subjective, context-based techniques.
The most common of these are essays and open-question exams. Instructors usually apply both types of assessment
to single individuals, but they can also adapt essays to be worked in small groups. Essays and open questions force
students to think outside the constrictions of multiple-choice tests and memorized responses. In keeping with
constructivists’ emphasis on students’ argumentation and the ways they arrive at their responses, essays and open
questions provide an excellent way for students to communicate their thoughts to instructors that traditional
assessments do not provide (Jonassen, 2003). As discussed, constructivist teaching, learning, and assessment
methodology all depends on high levels of student activity and is much more subjective than traditional
In addressing the second design issue, learning environment, constructivist education models are different from
traditional ones in almost every aspect. Traditional learning environments are formal, promote distance retention
between students and instructors, and discourage verbal activity by students. Constructivist learning environments,
however, are usually more informal, promote close working relationships between students and instructors, and rely
on verbal activity by students. As mentioned in the context of traditional learning environments, relationship building
requires interaction between students and instructors. In constructivist classrooms, instructors see many aspects of
students’ personalities and can easily assess each student’s communication, argumentation, and problem-solving
skills. Students, in addition, are exposed to instructors’ group leadership abilities and often senses of humor
(Jonassen, 2003; Kever, 2003). These interactions form bonds that are impossible to form in traditional learning
environments. These bonds also make students feel more comfortable in their academic environment, which builds
confidence and boosts learning performance. This effect also comes from constructivist education’s reliance on and
encouragement of student discussion and activity. In traditional education settings, students are punished for
expressing themselves at “inappropriate times” and often develop the feeling that their opinions are worthless or
unimportant. This feeling can bleed over into real life and later the workplace, resulting in low self-esteem and
reluctance to express opinions and views. In a constructivist educational environment, however, students are made to
feel that their contributions are important and worthy of being expressed (Schuh, 2003). Constructivist educational
models also approach the third common design issue more in-depth than traditional models. The third issue is
integrating students’ prior experience into course aspects, and constructivist models’ key factor here is the student-
centered approach. Since their curricula and methodologies are not designed around instructors, but students,
constructivist educational models are much more flexible and far easier to adapt than traditional ones. Discussion’s
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major role puts students in the spotlight and automatically brings previous experience to the fore. Whenever any
students have extra knowledge about topics or problems, the constructivist learning environment encourages them to
share their experience with the rest of the group, where all groups members can benefit from the knowledge
(Mclnerney, Mclnerney, & Marsh, 1997; Schuh, 2003). In a more restrictive sense, prerequisite requirements (like in
traditional educational models) installed in courses ensure that all group members can follow discussions and make
worthwhile contributions to them. In short, constructivist educational models put forth student-centered
methodologies, foster open, challenging learning environments, and highly integrate students’ prior experience in the
learning process.
Constructivism at Work
Now that traditional and constructivist educational models have been explored in detail, this paper will discuss two
real-life examples of successfully applied constructivist educational models. The first of these examples is in Brazil,
where high rates of school failure were observed in the beginning of the 20th century. The country’s mass education
system had been implemented at the time, and children from low social strata were thrust into an educational system
designed for children of middle to high social strata. The difference between performance rates appeared
immediately. Children from lower-class families failed significantly more than those from middle- and upper-class
families did. Most psychologists viewed the situation from a social Darwinist standpoint and attributed the difference
to biological and genetic factors.
When Helena Antipoff arrived in the country in 1929, she was an instructor for new Brazilian teachers, and she
immediately set herself to work upon learning about the cognitive character of Brazilian children. Through her
studies, she found that the social and cultural environment in which children grow up heavily influences their
cognitive development. Many children that came from rural families failed in urban schools, and so did many that
came from impoverished and/or abusive households. She also determined that standard IQ tests were not adequate
measures of comprehension and invention implied by their definition. Using this information and her position at the
Teacher’s Training College, she played a key role in adjusting schools to be more accommodating to lower-class
children by rescheduling class times to adjust them to the children’s socio-cultural lives, educating teachers in
improved instructional techniques, and restructuring the way IQ tests were used to separate children in schools. Not
all of her proposals were implemented, but those that were brought Brazilian schools out of a period of mass failures
and into one of maintained high rates of grade retention by the early thirties. Antipoff saw the most important
problem as being that teachers thought children’s low IQ test scores and high failure rates meant that they were less
intelligent, when the case was simply that the tests and urban school settings were so strange for the children that
they could not effectively cope with them (Campos, 2001).
Currently, many US institutions are replacing the traditional classroom-teaching style of education with the
constructivist problem-based learning style (PBL), both in higher and professional education. Professional educators
prefer the PBL system, because it facilitates student autonomy and easier curriculum negotiation. Furthermore, when
PBL is combined with small group work, it includes communication and collaborative skills that are missing in
traditional professional education (Bines, 1992a)
Practical Application
This paper has shown that constructivist education models have already been successfully implemented, now it will
explore some ways to convert traditional education systems into effective, constructivist ones. The first area of focus
for improvement will be the traditional design process. Most traditional designers base their final curricula on
available content material. This design strategy is constrictive for instructors and students and does not provide
enough flexibility or adaptability. To remedy this, education designers should create less restrictive course goals and
not focus excessively on course material. This method, as already mentioned briefly, both encourages students to
seek out their own materials and provides enhanced flexibility for instructors to adapt curricula to different student
groups and academic situations (Skaalid, 2003). Another common design error that traditional designers make is
material oversimplification. The idea behind this simplification is to make the material easier to teach and to learn,
but it actually strips away most of the material that should stimulate critical thinking in students. Instead of
simplifying material, education designers should challenge instructors to devise more efficient discussion methods.
Efficient discussion allows students to reach many conclusions by themselves that they normally would not (Jonassen,
Other ways to improve traditional education systems lie in the way instructors execute designers’ course plans. This
paper has already mentioned that instructors should be closely involved with the course design process, but faulty
execution can ruin even the best plans. For example, instructors and designers should perform progress-monitoring
tasks continuously throughout the project cycle, not only once in the beginning. This constant monitoring provides
up-to-date feedback and allows designers and instructors to modify education systems and correct problems before
they become too severe. Traditional instructors place too much emphasis on design goals or objectives when
implementing new education models, where objectives are not limits but heuristics for guiding operational
performance. Limiting students according to course objectives defeats the purpose of constructivist educational
models. Another point on flexibility is to allow for additional goals and/or objectives to arise during a course.
Instructors that follow course goals to the letter often reject additional course goals, and this an unnecessary limit for
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students. Another consideration in improving existing programs is that education designers (in concert with
instructors) must tailor implementation strategies to the course material and goals. To avoid going wrong in this
regard, designers should utilize rapid prototype techniques or conduct small-scale experiments to determine a
program’s compatibility with its material (Skaalid, 2003).
Still, an institution must consider some issues before converting to a constructivist education system. One of the
possibly negative consequences of such conversion could be the loss of objectivity and formality that accompany
traditional education methods. As previously discussed, constructivist assessment methods are highly subjective,
whereas automated traditional assessments are reasonably objective in comparison. Another negative consideration
is the financial one. It costs more to have many small classrooms that it does to have a few large lecture halls.
Smaller class sizes and groups mean either lower admissions or hiring more instructors. To be the most effective,
students should have ready access to resources like libraries, the internet, e-mail, etc. The advantage of these
expenditures is naturally better education, but if an institution cannot afford such adjustments, then it is unfeasible to
attempt them.
As above sections have shown, constructivist educational models have a real and quite powerful impact upon
education and learning in general. Failing to apply the principles inherent in such models can cause such problems as
high failure rates among students and mistaken low-ability assessments, and it can waste valuable learning potential.
To avoid these problems, educational designers, working closely with instructors, should tailor curricula to the target
students in keeping with socio-cultural environment and other cognitive influences. Educators, in turn, should employ
sound educational methods that promote Socratic learning and encourage students to “fill in the blanks” themselves.
This paper has also shown the positive consequences of Antipoff’s application of constructivist principles in Brazil
during the early 20th century. Furthermore, it has also put forth recommendations and considerations regarding the
improvement of existing educational systems and transforming them into more efficient, effective, and constructivist
ones. Once constructivist principles are globally applied to education, the world’s students will learn more efficiently
and effectively. Who knows what we could accomplish then?
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... This theory emphasizes that students should construct knowledge by interpreting new knowledge with previous knowledge. Thus, learning is not just about getting new information, but as an active process in which students examine, code, decode, and interpret new concepts and ideas [49]. That way, the teacher should provide instructions for students, so the learning process becomes more meaningful. ...
Conference Paper
Critical Thinking Skill (CTS) is higher-order thinking skills needed to face challenges in the 21st century. There is a big challenge to nurture the CTS of students. We should consider designing the learning process that supports the progression of CTS from novice to expert through learning progression. The aims of this study were; 1) to measure and analyze the students’ CTS, 2) find factors influencing CTS, and 3) map out the biology students and teachers’ perceptions regarding the critical thinking progression. This research is a mixed method by the explanatory sequential design. Eleventh grade students (N=186), biology teachers (N=19), and vice principals (N=2) of public high schools in Surakarta were selected purposively as respondents. The instrument of CTS was adopted from Heard with nine aspects. The results showed that the score of tests and monitors implementation (53.58%) was sufficient. Other aspects, i.e., identify gaps in knowledge (35.13%); discriminates amongst information (31.18%); identifies patterns and makes connections (37.81%); applies logic (28.14%); identifies assumptions and motivations (28.49%); justifies arguments (39.43%); identifies criteria for decision-making (35.30%); evaluates options (32.26%) were less critical. These results indicate that students’ CTS are low and should be improved through critical thinking progression.
... In this context, the approach adopted in the development of the social studies curriculum, which started to be implemented in 2005, has been the "constructivist approach". In this approach, "learning" is an active process, students gain affective skills that contribute to constructing knowledge in addition to learning by constructing new ideas based on their current and past knowledge (Erdamar- Pagán, 2006). ...
... Through these elements, the author confirms the importance of a collaborative and reflective learning environment intensified with mutual student-teacher interaction. Among basic characteristics of constructivism researchers (Fox, 2001;Pagán, 2006;Pascoe et al., 2018) point out moving from generalisation to specific concepts; supporting students' curiosity, interactivity, and multimodality of learning to pursuit personalisation of knowledge construction; teacher-student negotiation; a dynamic process of knowledge acquisition and assessment as a learning tool. ...
Objective: This article focuses on constructive learning theory and demonstrates how digital technologies can develop cognitive and metacognitive abilities in pharmacy students. Method: The mixed methodology was used to analyse pharmacy educators’ (n=10) and students’ (n=26) perceptions of the efficiency of online digital resources for the creation of a constructivist learning environment. The authors adapted Constructivist Multimedia Learning Environment Survey by adding the rubric for self-reflective skills and teachers’ support assessment. The qualitative data was collected by interviewing teachers and through self-reflective open discussions. After the session of webinars and self-paced MOOC on the constructivism approach, teachers transformed video lectures into interactive video lessons, conventional theoretic-oriented tasks into web cases and web quests. Result: Comparing the results of the initial students’ evaluation of traditional learning materials and the updated ones, there were positive dynamics in all six domains (average item mean): learning to communicate (5.4 points), learning to investigate (7.8 points), learning to think (4.2 points), relevance (8.6 points), challenges (0.9 points), ease of use (1.2 points), and quality of support (7.2 points). Conclusion: Experts observed teaching activities for critical thinking and inquiry skills development, personalised communication, and integration of digital technologies. The results of the study indicated that there were positive transformations toward the constructivist learning environment.
... In this approach the teacher facilitates learning activities and tries to comprehend how the students interpret what they have been taught (Zohrabi, Torabi, Baybourdiani, 2012). This practiced mirrored Pagán's (2006) belief that because the teacher's function is to help students develop effective goals, students work together to accomplish those goals. According to Vygotsky (1978), TCA essentially assist in directing students in their learning but make a significant contribution by promoting the development of cultural and language skills in their students. ...
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The objective of this study is to examine the findings of the literature review in relation to the flipped learning paradigm (FLP) in the field of Second language acquisition (SLA). In order to conduct the study, a total of 31 articles were analyzed. The study conducted a systematic review of the influences of the FLP on the teaching practices of (SLA). Numerous online databases were searched to identify relevant articles published between 2014 and 2020. The study illustrated that FLP can empower students to participate more actively in their learning activities by giving students more freedom to construct their knowledge. Moreover, active learning activities in the class within the model was positively affect the classroom engagement levels of the students. This may be due to the students performing the activities in class with the guidance of the teacher and the teacher giving immediate feedback. The study also showed the challenges associated with FLP that may guide teachers and students in utilizing FLP in language acquisition. Although academic studies into the effectiveness of FLP for language learning have been largely confined to English as a second language (ESL), however, the findings of the study are likely transferable to other languages, in particular, the learning of Arabic as a second language (ASL). Keywords: flipped learning paradigm, second language acquisition, technology
... In this context, the approach adopted in the development of the social studies curriculum, which started to be implemented in 2005, has been the "constructivist approach". In this approach, "learning" is an active process, students gain affective skills that contribute to constructing knowledge in addition to learning by constructing new ideas based on their current and past knowledge Pagán, 2006). ...
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Working life in today's world demands individuals who question and criticize, who are creative and entrepreneurial, and who exhibit positive communication skills. Nevertheless, it is not likely for individuals who are raised with a “teacher-centered” approach in the education process to acquire these skills necessitated by the 21st century. Effective learning necessitates active participation in learning activities and making connections to daily life through hands-on learning. The changes in the methods and techniques used in educational activities led to changes in the areas where learning activities are carried out, which are no longer limited to classroom environments . In this section, several relevant phenomena, i.e. “out-of-school learning”, “out-of-school learning in social studies teaching” and “field trip method” are discussed in terms of providing content related to daily life and ensuring learning by experience.
... In this context, the approach adopted in the development of the social studies curriculum, which started to be implemented in 2005, has been the "constructivist approach". In this approach, "learning" is an active process, students gain affective skills that contribute to constructing knowledge in addition to learning by constructing new ideas based on their current and past knowledge (Erdamar- Pagán, 2006). ...
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The end of the 1900s and the beginning of the 2000s have been the years of rapid technological developments. In this century, space telescopes produced with advanced technology, irradiation research, facial and stem cell transplants, organs produced artificially with 3D technology, tools developed through nano technologies, artificial intelligence research, the discovery of new living species and discovery of gravitational waves, the longest duration on Mars, the construction of unmanned spacecraft that can last for a long time, the discovery of water on Mars, the production of robotic body parts, the discovery of treatment methods against the HIV virus, the production of heart tissue from skin cells, the discovery of the use of water as fuel, face transplantation, smart books, wireless internet and electronic mobile books and many other scientific developments attracted attention (Sakız, 2018). These rapid changes in science and technology, changes in the needs of the individual and society, developments and innovations in learning approaches have also affected the roles expected from individuals (Ayvacı, Er Nas, & Kirman Bilgin, 2020a). Therefore, this situation has led to changes in the understanding of teaching, in curricula and the training of teachers who are practitioners of these programs. In this context, the present study aims to examine the changes that took place between 2000-2020 in the approaches of science teaching and consequently the changes in science programs and in the education of science teachers.
... Furthermore, Pagán (2006) states that constructivist teaching methods are mainly learnercentered. Constructivist models emphasize fewer teachers' participation and, instead, the learners work more to solve the problems. ...
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n the university, corpus-based research is commonly done for writing a thesis. However, corpus-based research can also be introduced for the first year of EFL students to build their critical thinking and vocabulary mastery. Less research discusses the practice of corpus-based research for the first year EFL student. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the benefit and the challenges of corpus-based research in the Indonesian EFL Setting. This study aims to examine the benefits and the challenges of corpus-based research in the Indonesian EFL Setting. Students did corpus-based research in English for the Islamic Studies course. Students tried to structure an English glossary from online Islamic articles, Islamic journals, and Islamic blogs. Forty-four students were chosen as the subject of the research. The survey was done to the students to gather the data about the benefits and the challenges of corpus-based research. The results showed that corpus-based research benefits increase vocabulary, increase students' understanding of research, improve students' accuracy in writing, develop critical thinking, and develop collaboration. Students faced several challenges in implementing corpus-based research. The finding shows students have difficulties in understanding new vocabulary. Besides, they have problems classifying data into specific topics, allocating time, and writing their reports.
... According to Papert's constructionism (based on Piaget's cognitive constructivism), personalization and adaptation options are necessary for any teaching environment. The idea is not that students learn a correct solution, with all of them following the same steps and procedures, but that each student reach a different optimum solution according to their thought processes, which is the correct way to learn [101]. This is relevant for teaching programming, as students should not be given "a correct solution". ...
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Learning how to program in Primary Education has attracted significant research in recent years. It is unclear though how programming environments and languages should be adapted to children to achieve better learning and use, but one trend seems to be the use of Scratch. The question in this paper is what programming environment can be used to continue teaching programming to children who have already been taught Scratch for years. This paper’s proposal is that students aged between 10 and 12 can benefit from interacting with a friendly learning companion using p-code such as Alcody. The hypothesis is that students (aged between 10 and 12) with a knowledge of Scratch will be able to significantly improve their scores by using a learning companion to teach them how to program even during the COVID-19 pandemic. To check the hypothesis, an experiment was carried out during the 2019/2020 academic year with 137 students in Ecuador. A significant improvement in the scores of the students was recorded together with high satisfaction.
... In a constructivist epistemic climate, the teacher's role is typically seen to be that of a guide or a facilitator who creates space for students to explore and evaluate ideas based on their own experience and knowledge as opposed to memorising and reproducing in conformity to an 'objective reality' (Ültanır 2012, 199). The invented ideas or mistakes of students, made during the process of knowledge construction, are seen as opportunities for learning and creativity (Pagán 2006). ...
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This study investigated the impact that the experience of living and teaching in the United Kingdom (UK) had on the belief development of three native Chinese language teachers. The study used a multifaceted approach to analyse the teachers as social beings and their belief development beyond the confines of the classroom. The analysis is based on data derived from an innovative methodological tool, a metaphorical drawing task, combined with narrative inquiry and interviews to elicit implicit beliefs. The findings show that the teachers’ various social roles as parents, members of clubs, participants in professional communities and observers of the broader social-political system in the UK, as well as the classroom environment, all contributed to changes in their beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning. Implications for classroom practice and teacher development are discussed.
... Hence, on-syllabus topics of everyday school lessons are taught in an inspiring and remarkable manner . Starting with mediation theory rooted in problembased learning and moderate constructivism (Pagán 2006), the projects moved towards the design of semi-digital teaching units, subsequently implementing entire digital, interactive learning modules on remote sensing (Schultz et al. 2017a, b). Besides, easy-to-use tools for image processing enable even novices of remote sensing to analyse current air mass movements, to calculate the NDVI, or to classify images. ...
Facing global challenges, a qualified education in remote sensing technologies needs to start in school to sensitise teachers and thus young people for ecological issues and develop their technological skills. Remote sensing is part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricular topics, all of which are either a requirement for or benefit from remote sensing. However, implementing its data and methods into regular curricula poses technological and educational challenges, given the lack of appropriate school IT infrastructure and remote sensing education for aspiring STEM teachers. Immersive media can overcome these structural issues, using the teachers’ and pupils’ smartphones to display and interact, e.g. with video data, astronaut photographs, or complex hyperspectral data. The data needs to be pre-processed for Augmented and Virtual Reality applications (AR and VR, resp.) to fit topic, available devices and software. Game development software allows for easy integration in apps for AR and VR, but does not contain functions for remote sensing methods. These are either implemented directly in scripts, worked around using less computing-intensive methods or replaced by methods unique to augmented and virtual reality. Following these premises, five AR apps are presented in this report, teaching about tropical cyclones, anthropogenic desertification, energy consumption, gravitation, and algal blooms, all of which use remote sensing data from different sensors aboard the ISS. One VR app teaching about Mount Fuji was developed using a DEM derived from astronaut photographs. All have different levels of interactivity and are embedded in worksheets that fill a double period.
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Examines the theoretical underpinnings of 2 related aspects of self-regulated learning: cognitive and motivational self-regulation. These aspects are seen as 2 sides of the same coin. A heuristic model of self-regulated learning is presented. Six components are used to show the reciprocal and parallel relationship between the cognitive and motivational self-regulation. The 6 components are (1) domain-specific knowledge and skills, (2) cognitive strategies, (3) cognitive self-regulatory strategies, (4) motivational beliefs and theory of mind, (5) motivation strategies, and (6) motivational self-regulatory strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Two aptitude–treatment interaction studies examined the comparative effects of metacognitive strategy training in self-questioning within a cooperative group learning context and a traditional direct instruction approach, on the acquisition of computing competencies, learning anxiety, and positive cognitions. When prior competence in using computers is controlled, students’ initial aptitudes interact significantly with teaching method. Cooperative groups scored significantly better on achievement tests, self-concept, and sense of control–mastery than did the direct instruction groups. Paradoxically, for the initially high-anxious learners, some aspects of computing anxiety remained high in the cooperative group relative to the direct instruction group, suggesting that anxiety may facilitate learning.
How do academic activities and discourse work together in classrooms to shape learning and instruction? This complex question was answered in a case study of underachieving students in a Grade 8 history class. Data were collected through class observation and interviews with experienced teachers and students in 2 classrooms. Teachers taught history content and learning strategies. Theories of social constructivism predict that the discourse arising before, during, and after activities can explain variability in students' social and academic participation in curriculum events, as can the nature of the instructional approach students experience when teachers hold similar goals. Patterns of co-occurring forms of discourse and activities across sequences of lesson events provided a useful window into interactions between learning and instruction.
Knowledge construction and scientific reasoning of 7th-grade students were examined during a 3-week inquiry unit in genetics, in which anomalies were used as a catalyst for student learning. Students used genetics simulation software to develop hypotheses and run tests of fruit fly crosses in order to develop mental models of simple dominance trait transmission. Instruction was intended to support discovery of anomalous patterns and development of explanations. Qualitative and quantitative analyses indicated that student explanations showed a significant shift toward greater explanatory power of the anomalous inheritance patterns. However, this shift did not occur evenly. Students were more likely to propose hypotheses and explanations for the more frequently occurring anomaly and more likely to run the test that produced that outcome relative to the less frequently occurring anomaly. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Comments on D. C. Geary's (see record 1995-16916-001) assumption that there is a cerebral primacy in the development of knowledge and the suggestion that there is acontinuum between basic skeletal processes developed by humans as a result of evolutionary processes. Criticizes Geary's point that educational models in which children are offered freedom in the way they learn secondary cognitive abilities (e.g., constructivism), may not be the best possible technique, especially in area of mathematics education . The author acknowledges that culturally enforced "drilling" methods suggested by Geary may, in fact, be more detrimental. The Vygotskian notion of the evolution of knowledge, social constructivism, works far better than "drilling." Education in secondary cognitive abilities must incorporate ways for children to understand motivations and discovering the meaning of mathematics in their own lives through solving of problems, hence, what is known as social constructivism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Reviews the book, Jerome Bruner: Language, culture, self edited by David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker (2001). Ten papers bounded by an editors' "Introduction" and Jerome Bruner's commentary, "In Response," constitute a volume that is probably as complete a presentation of the seminal issues in "cultural psychology" available anywhere. It is a joy to read and a tribute to Bruner's breadth of influence in all major areas of the discipline. What is remarkable about this volume is that the reader actually lives through Bruner's influence during the past five decades and comes to an appreciation of just how much of the theoretical course of the discipline is reflected in and can be understood through Bruner's writings. However, the papers collected here are not, as the editors note, a celebration of Bruner's legacy, but rather "a lens through which to see contemporary debates in psychology and cognate disciplines, debates about mind and culture, language and communication, identity and development." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Helena Antipoff played an important role in the development of a sociocultural perspective in educational psychology in Brazil. Drawing on her previous training in Paris, Geneva, and Petrograd, she proposed an original explanation for the high rates of school failure in the public system, from 1929 onward, when she became chairwoman of one of the first laboratories of psychology established in the country. This article focuses on her work, divided into 3 periods: the experience in Europe (1909–1929), the critique of the public educational system in Brazil (1929–1945), and the proposal of alternatives (1945–1974). Her contribution to the analysis of the development of intellectual skills in children, based on cultural and environmental factors, is related to the influence of Genevan interactionists and of Soviet cultural–historical theory, within the context of a critical view of the Brazilian educational system. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
In this study, the author describes the nature and occurrence of knowledge-construction links (KCLs) in 3 6th-grade classrooms that varied in degree of learner centeredness. KCLs are operationalized as prior learning that students bring to their current classroom experiences and include school and nonschool experiences. They are hypothesized to facilitate a knowledge-construction process that values prior learning. In the more learner-centered classroom, KCLs occurred in conjunction with open and divergent dialogue, positive reactions to students' use of prior learning, and opportunities within the classroom that allowed students to gain new experiences on which they could draw in further knowledge-construction efforts. In contrast, KCLs were ignored or viewed as inappropriate in the least learner-centered classroom, dialogue about content was convergent, and performance goals were the norm.
Constructivism, or more precisely, a constructivist metatheory, presently prevails throughout professional education circles. Most educators easily accept constructivism's central premise that learners approach tasks with prior knowledge and expectations based on their knowledge of the world around them. Naturally, then, constructivist educational technologists have been guided by the implicit (and increasingly explicit) desire to create authentic environments for learning: environments that correspond to the real world. In this paper, I argue that technologists have tended to paper over the critical epistemological dimension of constructivism by preauthenticating learning environments: creating environments that are predetermined to reflect the real world even though constructivist theory contrindicates precisely this. I suggest that a rhetorical perspective on constructivism offers a way out of this bind and I propose some guidelines to assist developers of educational technologies in accommodating the essentially dialogic nature of teaching and learning.