Constructivism Defined by Robert Kapfhammer

Constructivism posits that knowledge is constructed by human agents rather than being passively absorbed. The learning process determines what is learned. Understanding is developed through a combination of learner activity, the learning environment, exposure to other constructs through social interactions, and the background and goals of the learner (Doubleday, Brown, Patson, Jurgens-Toepke, Strotman, 2015). The key to a successful constructivist learning environment is through the social interactions of the students. Constructivists believe that a group of thinkers will produce better outcomes more than the individual thinker. Because everyone possesses a unique blend of learned experiences, a hive-mind approach to learn explores those individual experiences though social interactions. “Learners construct knowledge through discourse with other members of the community… learning is produced by the team” (Doubleday, Brown, Patson, Jurgens-Toepke, Strotman, 2015. p.4). For an example of a constructivist approach to learning, let us imagine a forth-grade class attempting to learn about a gubernatorial election. The teacher could guide the learners towards a variety of fronts: measuring, writing, experimenting, investigating, constructing, etc. The classroom could create ballots and booths, databases and voting information. The students could make election signs and research affective propaganda strategies. Software is applied. Hardware is operated. Not one subject, but a variety of subjects are being taught simultaneously, and the lessons learned are very relevant to today (Burns, Burniske, Dimock, 1999).

Doubleday, A. F. , Brown, B. , Patston, P. A. , Jurgens-Toepke, P. , Strotman, M. D. , Koerber, A. , Haley, C. , Briggs, C. , & Knight, G. W. (2015). Social Constructivism and Case-Writing for an Integrated Curriculum. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 9(1). Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/1541-5015.1502

Burns, Mary, Burniske, Jackie, Dimock, Vicki (1999). On the Road to Student-Centered Learning; TAP into Learning. Vol 1 No. 2 Spring 1999