Thus Constructivism is the idea that learners construct their own knowledge. The concept emerged because some educators and others were concerned that students were learning isolated, decontextualized skills and information and, therefore, students were unable to apply what they had learned or their proceduralized skills to situations outside of the classroom.
The Constructivist school of thought attempts to link learning with situational variables such as, emotions, environment, social status and anticipated consequences. The idea is that designers and teachers cannot teach anyone, they can only present information and then the learner creates his or her own meanings or constructs.
This could explain why something like Second Life which is literally a constructivistic paradise is so popular…people are literally constructing their own meanings, contexts and situations. This concept of constructivism may also be the missing link Mark Oehlert is wondering about when he asks
"what is the requirement?" - "what does this do differently or better than what has come before?" Kept running through my head. One answer to the former question is...there is no requirement. No requirement you can pin an ROI to. No requirement you can justify to a boardroom. Really - at this point there isn't - so stop looking.In his post Thinking Out Loud on a Post about Second Life. Since Second Life allow you to construct nearly everything in your environment and then interact with environments created by others who have, in turn, constructed their own meanings.
Constructivism supports the idea of discovery learning which was proposed at least as early as John Dewey if not earlier. Learners discover what they need to know and then build their knowledge base through their own bias and context. This, of course, means that the instructional designer is forced to create an environment for the learner to discover learning rather than a specific step-by-step lesson.
For more information and links to Constructivism sources, you can visit a page created by the School of Education the University of Colorado at Denver
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