What is Constructivism?

   Use a Learning Theory: Constructivism By Learning on 21st Century published on Dec30, 2012.

Constructivism is an umbrella term for a wide diversity of views that share that learners can learn actively and construct new knowledge based on prior knowledge, ”Constructivist learning arose from Piagetian and Vygotskian perspectives (Palincsar, 1998)” (as cited Ruey, 2010, P.707), while Piaget focused more on individual cognitive constructivism, Vygotsky’s emphasis the significance of culture and social context which merged with the work of Dewey who supported learning in a sociocultural interaction environment and a real world learning context (UBC, 2015). Although many different perspectives coexist within constructivism, however, all views share one key assumption that “a learner is believed to construct, through reflection, a personal understanding of relevant structures of meaning derived from his or her action in the world” (Fenwick, 2001, P.10 ).

Constructivism for adults takes the constructivist experiential learning model, there are various prominent models that has influenced its practice, David Kolb (1984) theory was to clarify exactly how different people learn by integrating their concrete emotional experiences with reflection, his learning process occurs in a cycle of four stages concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation (Merriam & Bierema, 2014). Donald Schon (1987) promoted constructivism to understand workplace, he was most interested in how critical reflection effect professionals in their practice. Boud and Walker (1991) acknowledged that specific contexts shape an individual’s experience in many different ways, and they studied how these differences among individuals influence their learning development through reflection on experience (Fenwick,2001).

Constructivism has three key aspects previous knowledge, the social context, and real life problems, constructivist learning environment can’t occur in isolation, it should encourage collaboration among peers, dialogue about the problems and projects where students test their ideas and further their understanding.

Educational technology tools helped to develop the constructivist learning process with many authentic activities as well as context that encourage social negotiations and analysis, microworlds, groupware and hypermedia designs are very commonly used in educational institutes and schools, some of examples of the widely known tools, LOGO a microworld software (https://logo.codeplex.com/) help students to learn programming, I personally use it within adult learners and it was quite effective, Lego Mindstorms a microworld package that allow kids to program and construct toy robots (https://education.lego.com/en-us/preschool-and-school/secondary/mindstorms-education-ev3/teaching-resources/software/robot-educator). CSILE knowledge forum groupware is a safe collaborative tool, and hyperauthor a hypermedia software that enable young students to narrate history (UBC, 2015).


  • Fenwick, T. (2001). Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives. University of Alberta. Retrieved from http://methodenpool.uni.koeln.de
  • Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L.(2014). Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Ruey, S. (2010). A case study of constructivist instructional strategies for adult online learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(5), 706-720. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-x
  • UBC, M. (2015, February 17). Constructivism for Adults. Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/Constructivism_for_Adults


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