Constructivist Learning Theory
The constructivist learning theory has emerged as a prominent approach to teaching during the past decade. The research of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Jonassen, among others, provides historical precedents for constructivist learning theory. Constructivist learning theory represents a paradigm shift from education based on behaviorist theory to education based on cognitive theory. In a constructivist learning environment, students have better learning outcomes than in traditional learning environment (Parker & Becker, 2003, Tynjala, 1999).
Among many definitions of constructivist learning theory, the most common characteristic is that they all focus on activities and environments rather than on learning objects. Knowledge is constructed by learners and not transmitted by an instructor. Dewey (1938) believes that knowledge emerges only from situations in which learners have to draw them out of meaningful experiences. Piaget (1960) indicates that learners are active and constructive in making sense of their environment. Piaget (1975) believes that learning should be attained through well-defined stages by active participation of a learner. Vygotsky (1978) focused more on learning activities. In addition, Jonassen (1994) suggested that the constructivist learning should emphasize less on the sequence of instruction and emphasize more on the design of the learning environment. He also pointed out that constructivist environments stress situated problem solving tasks. In conclusion, constructivist learning is an educational approach that effectively motivates learners by enabling a more active, explorative and interactive learning process. In other words, through the learning process, learners construct knowledge within a constructivist learning environment.