Constructivism
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Outline
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Overview of Constructivism
Two Types of Constructivism
Learning according to Constructivism
Constructivist Teaching Strategies
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivism
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Learners construct their own meaning from
information in the environment
Behaviorism
Passive
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Cognitive
Theories
Actively process
incoming
information
Constructivism
Actively seek to
understand the
environment
Assumptions of Constructivism
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Knowledge is constructed as learners make
sense of their experience
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Knowledge constructions may not match reality
Learners actively seek meaning in the
environment
In the learning process, learners create and test
theories until a satisfactory explanation is known
Knowledge is context-dependent
Social interactions are vital to learning
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivism:
Process of Learning
Schema:
Typically a
misconception
Test
Schema
Develop new
schema
(Accommodate)
No
Expected
Results?
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Yes
Assimilate
Discovery Learning
Kobo
Large bag
of Rice
Large Block of Wood
Orange
Metal
Knife
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Balloon
Types of Constructivism
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Psychological Constructivism: Learning as
improving individual knowledge and cognitive
abilities
Many cognitive theories of learning can also be
classified as Psychological Constructivist theories
 Radical Constructivism: There is no truth in the
world, only individual’s perceptions of the world
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivism
Schema: Mental representation of the world
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivism
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Equilibrium
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Balance between world
and mind
Occurs when schema
works to explain world
Constructivism
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Disequilibrium
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Disconnect between
world and mind
Occurs when schema
cannot explain the world
Uncomfortable
Constructivism
Assimilation: Fit new
information (world) into
existing schema (mind)
Interpret world in terms
of mind
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Accommodation:
Change schema (mind)
to explain new situation
(world)
Mind is changed
because of the world
Constructivism
Schema
World
Type
Addition
Subtraction is the
opposite of addition
Assimilation
Flat Earth
Round Earth
Accommodation
Four legs =
dog
Animal has four legs.
Calls a goat a dog
Assimilation
Adjust denominator
Accommodation
Adding factions:
Add top keep
bottom same
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Types of Constructivism
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Social Constructivism: Learning as increasing
the ability to participate with others in activities
meaningful within the culture
Culture influences thinking when a more skilled
person uses tools and practices from the culture to
instruct another toward valued cultural goals
 Thinking influences culture when members generate
new practices and solutions to add to the cultural
group’s repertoire
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Learning in Context
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Education should focus on teaching knowledge
that will be useful for life-long learning
Learning Goals
Ability to solve problems
 Critical thinking skills
 Personal inquiry skills
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Ability to identify and pursue own learning goals
A general wishes to capture a fortress located in
the center of a country. There are many reads
radiating outward from the fortress. All have been
mined so that while small groups of men can pass
over the roads safely, a large force will detonate
the mines. A full-scale direct attack is therefore
impossible. The general's solution is to divide his
army into small groups, send each group to the
head of a different road, and have the groups
converge simultaneously on the fortress.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
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The next passage is conceptually similar to the
previous passage. Use the solution from the
previous slide to solve the next problem.
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
You are a doctor faced with a patient who has a malignant
tumor in his stomach. It is impossible to operate on the
patient, but unless the tumor is destroyed the patient will
die. There is a kind of ray that may be used to destroy
the tumor. If the rays reach the tumor all at once and
with sufficiently high intensity, the tumor will be
destroyed, but surrounding tissue may be damaged as
well. At lower intensities the rays are harmless to healthy
tissue, but they will not affect the tumor either. What
type of procedure might be used to destroy the tumor
with the rays, and at the same time avoid destroying the
healthy tissue?
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Transfer
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Transfer: Effect of previous learning on new
learning.
Factors that affect transfer:
Similarity of learning situations
 Depth of original understanding
 Quality of learning experiences
 Context for learning
 Variety of experiences
 Emphasis on metacognition
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Situated Learning
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Situated Learning: Skills and knowledge are
tied to the situation where they were learned
Knowledge learned outside of a meaningful context
is useless
 Focus on apprenticeships
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Expert guides novice beginning with simple and
increasing to complex
Conditions of Learning
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Learning occurs in complex, realistic, and
relevant environments
Social interaction is an important aspect of
learning
Teach with multiple modes of representation
Foster ownership in learning
Teach metacognitive skills
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivist Teaching
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Goal of Teaching:
Identify the skills or information that the learner
needs to know prior to problem solving
 Learners more motivated to learn when faced with
problem solving situation that requires a bit of new
information
 Prerequisite skills are focused on in the context of
higher-order goals
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Problem-Based Learning
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Real World Problem
Collaborate to find solution
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Teacher’s Role
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Provide topic, Gather background information,
Create ways to incorporate a variety of subjects,
Delegate tasks to students, Facilitate the project
Instructional Conversations
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Conversations with probing questions to
facilitate deep learning
Teachers scaffold (Vygotsky)
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Teacher’s Role
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Facilitate the discussion, Use good questioning
techniques, Be open to student input
Cognitive Apprenticeships
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Students work with an expert
Real-life situation
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Expert’s Role
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Model, Guide, Scaffold
Inquiry Learning Process
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Hypothesize
Test
Report
Evaluate
Inquiry Learning
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Scientific Procedure
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Hypothesis
Test Hypothesis
Draw Conclusions
Reflect
First-hand vs. Second-hand Investigations
Teacher’s Role
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Identify topic of study, Pose deep questions, Provide
appropriate materials, Guide, Let students ask questions and
discover the answer
Constructivism
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Common elements of all constructivist teaching
strategies
Students actively participate
 Teacher is a facilitator
 Requires deep thinking from students
 Real-world applications
 Social orientation
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Applying Constructivism to
Instruction
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Elicit students’ ideas and experiences, then
create learning situations to restructure current
knowledge
Provide opportunities to engage in complex,
meaningful, problem-based activities
Provide opportunities for students to apply the
knowledge in many meaningful contexts
Teach self-regulation strategies
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivism
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Strengths:
Learning is interesting
 Learning is relevant
 Students are active in classroom
 Deep learning
 Creativity from the students
 Motivated to learn
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivism
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Weaknesses
Hard to plan for
 Students may ask questions you don’t know the
answer to
 Difficult for low students
 Takes lots of classroom time
 Not cover as much material
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Research-Supported Conclusions
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Active learners are most successful
Learning from examples and doing fosters deep
understanding
Meaningful learning is most effective as
compared to rote learning
The social structure of the learning environment
is critical to successful learning
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivist Theories Overview
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Results: Meaning of the environment
Means: Attempt to develop a theory of the world
Inputs: New information from the environment
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Constructivist Theories Overview
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Learning Outcomes: Reasoning, Critical Thinking
Role of the Learner: Make meaning of the world
Role of the Instructor: Provide complex and realistic
learning environments that challenge learners to solve
problems
Inputs for Learning: Self-regulation learning skills,
Motivation to make sense of the environment
Process of Learning: Assimilation and
Accommodation
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Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Weakness of constructivism
Revision
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What are the assumptions of a constructivist
view of learning?
What are the two types of constructivism?
What is the difference between assimilation and
accommodation?
What are a few constructivist teaching
strategies?
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
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Constructivism - Educational Psychology