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Constructivism an educational theory

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  • 1. ‘ Constructivism’ The educator as Facilitator Educational Theory (1) National Liaisons Workshop ITOCA / BLDS
  • 2. Constructivism - Objectives
    • By the end of this session, you will:
      • Know what constructivism is?
      • Understand why it is important to trainers
      • Understand how to apply its approach to your work
      • Begin to understand the theory behind the student-centred approach
  • 3. Constructivism
    • “ Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand”
    • Chinese Proverb
  • 4. What is Constructivism?
    • Teaching & training theory based on research about how individuals learn
    • Based on the idea:
      • Individuals construct knowledge (personal construct theory – Kelly 1955) through:
        • Understanding past experiences
        • Reflecting on past experiences
        • Adding a greater degree of detail to existing knowledge [1]
          • fill in knowledge gaps & go beyond information given (Bruner)
        • Combining new knowledge into personal understanding of reality [2]
    • MacKeracher (2004) Making sense of adult learning, 2 nd edn. Toronto: University of Toronto Press
  • 5. What is constructivism?
    • Modern Constructivists
      • Lev Vigotsky
        • Social Construction
          • emphasized the effects of one’s environment (family, friends, culture & background) have on learning
      • Jerome Bruner
        • Constructivism & Cognitivism
          • Bruner’s 5 E’s
      • Kolb “Learning Cycle or Experiential learning cycle”
  • 6. Kolb et al
    • Experiences play a central role in learning process
      • Life, work, education or play
    • Ideas are formed and re-formed continuously through learning experience
    • Bring our own ideas and preconceptions to learning process
    • Learning is an iterative process
    • Kolb, Rubin and Osland (1991) Organizational Behaviour: an experiential approach, 5 th edn. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall
  • 7. Why it is important to trainers?
    • Trainer’s role: Act as a facilitator & resource person
    • Individuals learn best through:
      • Exploration or enquiry
      • ‘ Active’ rather than ‘passive’ learning
      • ‘ student-centred’, participative approaches
      • (Co-) Constructing meaning
      • Reflection
    • Increased sense of ‘autonomy’
      • Independent learners
    • Useful in a variety of settings
        • Classroom, lecture halls etc.
  • 8. Modern Constructivist
    • Jerome Bruner most recent contributor
    • Bruner’s five E’s
      • Engage
      • Explore
      • Explain
      • Elaborate
      • Evaluate
                   Jerome Bruner
  • 9. Engage
    • Engage students and get them interested in learning
    • Discuss in pairs: how would you motivate learners? 5 minutes
      • Does the student identify his/her own learning needs & then pursue them?
      • Learning pace
      • Student’s ideas / questions welcomed?
      • Negotiate learning needs?
      • Student construct knowledge? Progress trial & error?
      • Opportunities for reflection?
  • 10. Explore
    • Get directly involved in learning approach
      • Active learning
    • Work in ‘teams’ or ‘pairs’
    • Act as a facilitator (or resource person)
    • Use enquiry (or discovery) to drive learning process
      • Enquiry-based learning
      • “ Learning driven by a process of enquiry..”
  • 11. Explain
    • Explanations come from:
      • Students learning together
        • Consider uses of ICT
      • Trainer introduces concepts and vocabulary
      • Trainer determines levels of understanding
        • Clarifies concepts if misconceptions exist
      • Learning approaches (assist AfL)
        • Students’ set own research topics / essay
        • Dealing with problem-solving assignments
        • Creating own questions
        • Brainstorming
  • 12. Elaborate
    • Students expand on concepts learned
      • Fill in gaps
    • Apply understanding to own environment & real world problems
    • Make connections
    • Connections lead to further inquiry & new understandings
  • 13. Evaluate
    • Can occur at all points of the instructional process
      • Formative (used by students to measure learning progress (reflective)
        • Rubrics (Peer Assessment)
        • Teacher observations
        • Student interviews
      • Summative (formal assessment event that contributes to the award of a grade and/or mark)
    • Used to guide further training plans
  • 14. To summarize: Constructivist theory is..
    • Learning is active
    • Student-centred & enquiry-based
    • Act as a facilitator, not a record player
    • Learning is achieved through exploration
    • Learning happens if it is interesting!
    • Use 5 E’s to put students at centre of learning
    • Appeals to past experiences (reflective)
    • Makes learning cyclical or incremental
  • 15. Problem-solving IL scenario
    • “ You have a friend who is interested in setting using a social networking tool to promote their research (e.g. Facebook). They are worried about the dangers, including: plagiarism, ethical and privacy issues. What advice would you give them? Should they use a social networking tool to promote their research?”
  • 16. Task #10 – Problem-solving task
    • In your groups:
      • Develop a 5 minute PowerPoint presentation
      • You must:
        • Consider the pros / cons
        • Compare tools and suggest alternatives (if applicable)
        • Identify why task is a pertinent Information Literacy skills problem
      • 20 minutes preparation time
  • 17. Post task feedback
    • Using constructivist approach
      • How could we have improved task?
      • Group Discussion
        • Use different scenarios (variety increases motivation)
        • Student define scenario
        • Others?