Constructivist and Minimalist with Kevin Condit


Online education has grown in popularity over the past 15 years as technology has improved. As a result, many educators are adapting their courses and curriculums to fit the needs of asynchronous online learning.

Online learning focuses less on a lecture based format as the instructor serves the roll of facilitator, conversationalist, moderator and demonstrator. Two learning theories that could adapt well to online learning is constructivism and minimalism.


Carroll’s Minimalist Theory of Learning is rooted in meaningful and real-world learning experiences. A strong bond exists between the training and the actual work. Minimalism emphasizes self-directed reasoning and activities. Prior and current experience should be built upon.

Why Use It?
The reason to use this learning theory is that all instruction and learning is directed toward learning specific skills. As a result, this is an excellent choice for training.

In an online design course, all activities are directly related to a real job or application.

Carroll, J.M. (1990). The Nurnberg< Funnel. Cambridge , MA: MIT Press.

Carroll, J.M. (1998). Minimalism beyond the Nurnberg Funnel. Cambridge , MA: MIT Press.

Instructional (2015). Minimalist Theory (J. M. Carroll). Retrieved from

Patsula, P. J. (1999). Applying Learning Theories to Online Instructional Design. Retrieved from

Ramsay, J. (2015) The pendulum swing of user instruction and interaction. e-learning and digital media. Retrieved from


Bruner’s Constructivism Theory of Learning emphasizes taking prior knowledge to guide new decisions, concepts and applications. It is an active learning style with independent student discovery, active discussions and exploration to fill in the knowledge gaps.

Why Use It?
This learning theory provides students the ability to be active learners who construct new ideas and concepts based on current and previous learning. Students are using higher level thinking and problem-solving.

Students are given a studio project where they use past and current knowledge to create a new work that moves in a new direction.

Bruner, J. (1996). The Culture of Education, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. (1966). Toward a Theory of Instruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Huang, H. (2002). Toward Constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, Volume 33 Issue 1. Doi:10.1111/1467-8535.00236

Instructional (2015). Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner). Retrieved from

Kinnes, T. (2009). Dr. Jerome Bruner. Retrieved from

Patsula, P. J. (1999). Applying Learning Theories to Online Instructional Design. Retrieved from

Teachers (2011). Constructivism-A Learning Process. Retrieved from