Constructivism and Social Learning Theory

Week4Discussion Amy Williams

EDUC 6115, November 2013

Constructivism theory poses the notion that we learn through social experiences as well as internal cognitive experiences. Chapter 6 of Learning Theories and Instruction discusses three perspectives on Constructivism: Exogenous ‘the world influences beliefs…, Endogenous ‘directly from prior knowledge…develops through cognitive abstraction’, and Dialectical ‘derives from interactions between persons and their environments. (Laureate, Ed.)

As I reflect on the meaning of these perspectives, I consider on-line learning and how it correlates with this theory; In many ways, on-line learning can be successful if the learner is already motivated to achieve the subject being taught. All three perspectives of Constructivism can be addressed by allowing the learner to think about what they know, want to know and reflect on what they have learned, as well as talk among their colleagues through an on-line discussion. Without getting off track, this idea directly relates to the metacognitive KWL strategy(What I Know, what I Want to know and what I/we have Learned). 

When thinking more deeply about motivation, I consider a quote from the scholarly article: Engaging Learners in Online Learning Environments, C. Lim.

            “Learners may get lost due to the navigation aspects of the interface, become de-motivated or fail to make connections in the knowledge they have constructed; as a result, they become disengaged from the learning process.”

How do we as instructors prevent de-motivation? Using the constructivist philosophy, how do we make the experience more interpersonal? On-line learning is truly intrapersonal because the learner controls when and where the thinking and discussion takes place, while reflecting, going within to express their own ideas. Although this is important to the learner, interpersonal relationships are also important to bring meaning as well. We are social animals and learn by sharing with our friends, family and colleagues on endless topics every day. Without this, we will dehumanize ourselves and may not function well in face-to-face settings. Maybe, as technology immigrants (like myself) grow older and (natives) more frequent, the learner will have different motivators in on-line learning, because it is a new set of the ‘cultural’ indicators.

 Works Cited

Lim, C. (2004). Engaging Learners in Online Learning Environments. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 48(4), 16-23.

Ormrod, J Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Leaarning Theories and Instruction (Laureate Edition). New York. Pearson. Chapters 6 & 7. pp 182-262.

Walden University M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology Program




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