According to Driscoll, there is no single constructivist theory of instruction, so she explained the assumptions common to the collection of approaches with the learning condition and instructional methods together.
The assumption of constructivism in learning is similar to those of Piaget’s schema accommodation, and knowledge reconstruction of Brunner and Vygotsky (p388). Moreover they use the term of œsocial negotiation of meaning to explain the situation that a learner’s knowledge is not correspond to the existed knowledge outside. She explained some constructivists’ models of memory such as Eco’s rhizome metaphor and John R. Anderson’s ACT-R model.
The constructivist emphasized learning in contents. Learning goals in constructivists instruction includes reasoning, critical thinking, understanding and use of knowledge, self-regulation and mindful reflection. Based on their goals some learning conditions are examined. They emphasized the learning process, not the products of learning. Five conditions are required for learners to meet the goals in perspectives of constructivists’ instruction as follow: complex and relevant learning environments, social negotiation, multiple perspectives and multiple modes of learning, ownership of learning, and self-awareness of knowledge construction. She explained 4 methods of instruction were essential to those conditions: microworlds and hypermedia designs, collaborative learning and problem scaffolding, goal-based scenarios and problem-based learning, and open software and course management tools.
I have the similar view of constructivists that œknowledge is constructed by learners as they attempt to make sense of their experiences. So I think the role of a learner in learning is very crucial. As I understand, the constructivist also emphasized the learner’s role in leaning. I think true leaning has to be displayed in any ways. The learner has to show what happened in their inside and what knowledge was learned. The skills of technology have been developed so quickly for past decade and still developing speedily, as a instructor, we should be very sensitive these trends to help the learner, which is related to one of methods of constructive instruction. I also think that the meaningful learning is always up to the learner’s attitude toward learning.
Before I read this chapter, I thought that constructivism is a separate theory. However, I realized that different theories included some assumptions about the constructivist concept (Driscoll, 2005). In defining the constructivist theory, Driscoll (2005) compare it with objectivist thinking. While objectivist perspective sees knowledge depends on learner, constructivist believes that knowledge is the output of the process the learners make to understand what surrounds them (Driscoll (2005). And this notion weakens the outside influences in learning Driscoll (2005). Because constructivism does not have a clear description of memory, Driscoll (2005) mentioned some constructivists’ memory models to clarify how constructivism perceives memory. It seems that memory is believed to depend on the concepts’ networks built while knowledge is constructed.
For learning to take place, learning goals should be set. Constructivists emphasized a number of goals. Learning in the appropriate context seems to be the most primary condition of constructivism (Driscoll, 2005). As for the goals, they rang between reasoning, understanding, cognition and critical thinking (Driscoll, 2005). Although they might seem various, they all require learner’s own cognitive effort in order to achieve them. Constructivism, though, is being criticized of not focusing on prerequisite skills (Driscoll, 2005).
As any other theory or learning approach, construct
ivism has some conditions that should be taken into account to allow the knowledge construction. Since constructivism emphasizes the role of the learner in perceiving the knowledge, making the learning context as complex and real as the real life situations is one of the learning conditions (Driscoll, 2005). Making the learning situation simple and easy may result in successful learners. However, this may be what they look like. Probably, they will fail the next challenge in the real life. Second condition requires collaboration (Driscoll, 2005). Constructivists see collaborative learning as a great method to ensure knowledge sharing and dependency between learners, and that’s what Driscoll called œsocial negotiation (2005, p. 396). Third condition of learning deals with the learner’s role; ownership is important to make learner be in charge of his/her own learning (Driscoll, 2005). Although researches proved the effectiveness of this method, instructors may like to provide help to insure the right technique of seeking and evaluating knowledge (Driscoll, 2005). Constructivists also believe that learner should be knowledgeable about the way s/he is gaining and constructing knowledge (Driscoll, 2005).
In spite of the importance of learner’s role in constructing his/her own knowledge, there are still methods that are recommended for instruction (Driscoll, 2005). Driscoll (2005) provided us with some methods such as, microworlds, collaborative learning, scaffolding, goal/problem- based learning, and course managements tools. If we look at these methods, we will notice that they are just tools that are used to make the learning conditions we have just mentioned. For example, microworlds, as Driscoll (2005) put is, œprovide rich, student-centered learning environments in which authentic activity is stressed (p. 404). In addition, collaborative learning and scaffolding provide œsocial negotiation which is important in making the right learning context (p. 404). On the other hand, course management tools can be a good tool to be used by teachers to help them provide their students with data (Driscoll, 2005). Such data can be used to construct knowledge easily using technology.
I have found out by reading this chapter that constructivism is an instructional theory which is a combination of points that it assumes that knowledge is basically constructed, learning goals involves self-regulation, reasoning, critical thinking, and reflection, presents conditions for instruction, and method of learning, such as collaborative learning etc. In this chapter, Driscoll (2005) discusses the fact that constructivism has achieved a strong position in many areas of education and it is a combination of several different theories which deal with methods and strategies ideal and productive for learning. The author mainly proves and discusses and the point that constructivism has gained more and more popularity in the recent times, and simultaneously computer technology has also won more favor. In my opinion, the chapter mainly deals with the phenomenon that computer technology is not just compatible with constructivist methods and strategies of learning but it also facilitates the implementation of constructivism which otherwise could be a little tough to be practiced. Here, the chapter also clarifies that we should not think that only computer is the tool for the implementation of constructivism rather it says other media, besides computer, can also be productively utilized within the frame work of constructivist pedagogy. The chapter encourages the use of a variety of media, resources and time should be used in order to effectively implement the constructivist principles. The chapter also clarifies that constructivism is a theory which still needs to be explained and defined in more detail before it can become a genuine and complete instructional theory. At the moment, with certain shortcomings and unclear aspects, constructivism, for learning and teaching, may not fit in a broader framework of instructional theory and learning. According to some of the main points that constructivism proposes include that only active learners are successful learners, learning through examples and practice enables a learner to gain a deep level of understanding and comprehension, learning through understanding is what should be implemented instead of rote learning, and social structure of learning environment is significant.