An Introduction to Constructivism: Its Theoretical Roots and ...


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With roots in Piaget, Kant, Dewey, Freire and others, constructivism has had a large influence on teaching and learning design over the past three decades. Broadly defined, constructivism is the idea that learners make meaning and construct knowledge by reflecting on and interpreting their own and others’ experiences. In contrast to constructivism, transmissive or traditional learning is one in which a teacher transmits facts to passive students who are later asked to recall the information through quizzes and tests. On the other hand, constructivism leads to transformative learning. Knowledge is not received but created by the learners, as they continually interpret and act on their experiences. Constructivism emerged in part from the belief that education cannot be separated from the realities of society and that learners are only transformed when active assimilation is embedded in the learning process. Critics hold that constructivism creates a risk that learners will create their own realities separate from objective truths. Advocates state that this approach leads to more engaged students and better student outcomes. In recent years, the influence of constructivism continues to be seen in teaching pedagogy, classroom layout and educational technology design. Constructivism has contributed to the increasing emphasis on student-centered learning, active learning, experiential learning and holistic student success.