Thursday, September 29, 2011

Facilitating Constructivism/Constructionism

Brain research theory provides a knowledge base that, if used as a blueprint for implementing instructional strategies, can effectively enhance the learning environment.  Dr. Orey described the theory constructivism as the belief  that "people can learn best when they build an external artifact or something they share with others." (Laureate education, Inc. 2011) Constructionism can be a theory of learning as well as a strategy for education.  As an extension of the constructivist theory, the belief is that knowledge is not simply transmitted from facilitator to student, but that it is actively constructed in the mind of the learner.  New ideas are generated through the creation of an external artifact in addition to the interaction of a collaborative environment.

Educators should strategically implement lessons that promote an environment of inquiry and challenge.  Students should be able to choose organize, collaborate, create artifacts of their choice, make predictions, design and construct ideas, collect and analyze data, self-evaluate and communicate ideas.  The facilitator guides the learner along their path of learning by creating a classroom culture that supports frequent feedback and assessment. (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007)

Instructional strategies that correlate with the Constructivist's classroom will include brainstorming and discussion sessions. Incorporating graphic organizers will allow students to use their prior knowledge to assist in the new inquires created through the exploratory process. Collaborative projects that have rubric will define expectations as well as engage learners in authentic, real-world tasks. 


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Problem-based instruction. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from


  1. Joanne to Catherine

    You make a very good point about the need for teachers to design well-defined rubrics when students are creating a product. If students know the expectations and what is required they will be able to focus on creating connections so the learning is stored in long-term memory.

    A classroom environment using a discovery approach will promote an environment of inquiry and challenge as you suggest. Providing the opportunity for dis-equilibrium so students can adjust their thinking by either assimilation or accommodation (Laureate Education Inc., 2011).

    Well written post.

    Joanne C.

    Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

  2. Hi, Byron from your Waldenu class

    Brain research in recent years has also said that educators have explored links between classroom teaching and emerging theories about how people learn. Exciting discoveries in neuroscience and continued developments in cognitive psychology have presented new ways of thinking about the brain the human neurological structure and the attendant perceptions and emotions that contribute to learning. Explanations of how the brain works have used metaphors that vary from the computer (an information processor, creating, storing, and manipulating data) to a jungle (a somewhat chaotic, layered world of interwoven, interdependent neurological connections).

    Scientists caution that the brain is complex and, while research has revealed some significant findings, there is no widespread agreement about their applicability to the general population or to education in particular. Nevertheless, brain research provides rich possibilities for education and reports of studies from this field have become popular topics in some educational journals. Enterprising organizations are translating these findings into professional development workshops and instructional programs to help teachers apply lessons from the research to classroom settings.