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Learning Theory

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Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the principle that, by reflecting on experiences, a person can construct his own knowledge of the world in which he lives. Each person generates his own "rules" and "mental models, " which he will use to comprehend his experiences. Learning then becomes a process of adjusting mental models to accommodate new experiences (Constructivism 2001). Constructivism views learning as a process in which the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts based on current and past knowledge. In other words, "learning involves constructing one's own knowledge from one's own experiences".

Constructivist learning, therefore, is a very personal endeavor, whereby internalized concepts, rules, and general principles may consequently be applied in a practical real-world context (Learning Theory 2005). Constructivism itself has many variations, such as Generative Learning, Cognitive Apprenticeship, Problem-based learning, Discovery Learning, situated learning, and knowledge building. Regardless of the variety, constructivism promotes a student's free exploration within a given framework or structure. The methods of constructivism emphasize a person’ s ability to solve real-life, practical problems. In school, Students typically work in cooperative groups rather than individually; they tend to focus on projects that require solutions to problems rather than on instructional sequences that require learning of certain content skills (Conway 1997).

The job of the teacher in constructivist models is to arrange for required resources and act as a guide to students while they set their own goals and 'teach themselves'(Roblyer, Edwards, and Havriluk, 1997, p. 70). However, many educational psychologists found the behavioral approach unsatisfying. In the areas of problem-solving and learning strategies, they became more concerned with what was unobservable - what was going on inside the brain (Conway 1997).

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preview essay on Learning Theory
  • Pages: 9 (2250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Education
  • Level: Undergraduate
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