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Constructivism In Digital Learning

Constructivism in Digital Learning

In the world of learning theories, constructivism (linked to cognitivism) aims to shift the focus from passive absorption to active construction of knowledge. It emphasises active engagement, collaboration, and the construction of knowledge by learners themselves.

Let’s explore the core principles further.

Constructing knowledge and meaning

Piaget’s studies into the stages of development, of how individuals construct knowledge and meaning, laid the foundation for constructivism. This theory underlines the importance of prior knowledge, social interaction, and real-world contexts in the learning process. As a result, this helped to answer the role of prior knowledge and the influence of social interaction in learning and development.

Principles of constructivism

The key principles of constructivism that shape learning design strategies:

Active and Engaging Learning: Gone are the days of passive lectures. Constructivism advocates for active learner involvement, encouraging hands-on exploration and problem-solving.

Situated Learning: Knowledge gains relevance when it is situated within real-world contexts. Learning experiences should demonstrate practical applications, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts.

Collaborative Learning: Collaboration enhances learning outcomes by providing opportunities for learners to interact, share perspectives, and co-construct knowledge. Working together enables individuals to deepen their understanding through discussions and collective problem-solving.

In the constructivist approach, educators assume the role of facilitators rather than instructors. This shift promotes ongoing dialogue and encourages learners to take an active role in their learning journey.

What does constructivism mean for digital learning?

Let’s take a look at an example of how this would work in practice:

Consider a scenario where a large international organisation wants to share new systems training with its entire staff. The innovative but small team is overwhelmed with requests for training, and they don’t have enough time to help every other function to improve.

The solution: creating building blocks of knowledge

The company develops an online suite featuring nuggets of new systems wisdom accessible to an unlimited number of employees. Each of these building blocks of basic knowledge encourages individuals to apply the new system to their work, complemented by real-life stories of systems problem-solving.

At key points in the learning journey, employees could also attend short workshops with the experts in-person. As a result, these events will spark discussions on applying solutions to real problems, creating memorable ‘aha’ moments and adding cement to the building blocks of knowledge they’ve already built up. Following the workshops, participants can then join an online community to continue conversations and collaborative problem-solving.

The science behind constructivism

Constructivism values social interaction and collaboration. When learners are encouraged to have engaging discussions with experts and peers, they can share perspectives and build knowledge together. As such, workshops become like hangout spots where people can reflect on past problem-solving which connects experiences with new knowledge.

In constructivism, learning isn’t just about getting information handed to you. It’s about actively developing knowledge, step by step.

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