Week 6 – Social Constructivism

I really enjoyed this presentation because I personally can relate well with it as an effective way of learning.  As a student, I feel responsible for my learning and have to try to make sense of what the instructor is trying to say or illustrate.  Until I construct it in my mind and establish a rational basis, I will not learn the material.  As an undergraduate engineering student, the concepts of higher order mathematics and physics and thermodynamics would not make sense until I constructed them in my mind.  I also agree with the concept that learning is a by-product of participation in a community.  Solving problems together is much more powerful than trying to do it on your own.

I learned about the zone of proximal development that was conceived by Vgotsky.  I really liked the graph that plotted level of competence v. level of challenge.  There is a certain amount that you can learn on your own and there is that zone where you really need help and then beyond that help you can move even further and construct more on your own.  So the constructivism approach is more appealing to me than the objectivism model.  As we approach our group project, it will be good to establish the constructivist approach enumerated below:

  1. Develop an activity framework
  2. Establish an accountability system
  3. Develop monitoring procedures
  4. Set up a common experience
  5. Ensure frequent repetition
  6. Repeat critical content
  7. Train in group interaction procedures

I am not sure how popular this approach was when it was introduced, but as the world has become more complex in terms of interactivity and collaboration, I can see why it has high appeal today.  I am personally ok in stating that I am a constructivist in my philosophy (so far).

I have noticed that several of the ID models fall under the constructivist framework: Problem-based instruction Situated learning and  Collaborative learning, which all make sense to me now.



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