Constructivism in 21st Century Online Learning

Constructivism in 21st Century Online Learning

Kathaleen Reid-Martinez (Oral Roberts University, USA) and Linda D. Grooms (Regent University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3476-2.ch045
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Augmenting communication in and among those in the academic, business, and military communities, the exponential advancement of science and technology has availed vast amounts of information to virtually millions of people around the globe. In conjunction with this knowledge explosion has been a growing concern for the democratization of the learning process, with constructivism driving much of the educational agenda, most particularly in areas such as online distance education. This chapter examines the resurgence of the constructivist approach to teaching and learning, its convergence with rapidly changing technological advances, and its relationship to future trends in online pedagogy and andragogy.
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While the constructivist method has been highly emphasized in the recent literature for online and distance education (Barak, 2017; Brown, L. 2014; Bryant & Bates, 2015; Holzweiss, Joyner, Fuller, Henderson, & Young, 2014; Huang & Liaw, 2018; Mbati & Minnaar, 2015; Miller-First & Ballard, 2017; Perrow, 2017; Ștefan, 2017; Symeonides & Childs, 2015; Thorne, 2013), it is not a new approach to learning. Presenting an early example, Socrates facilitated discourse with students asking directed questions to assist them in realizing the weaknesses in their logic and critical thinking. This enabled learners to share in the responsibility of their learning through active participation, while negotiating meaning in the creation of shared understanding. In contrast, medieval professors in later Western culture most often served as primary repositories of information along with the scrolls and velum texts found in the limited number of physical libraries available to educators. With the lecture serving as the quickest and easiest way to disseminate information to both small and large groups of individuals, it was both an efficient and effective delivery method in the shaping and forming of student knowledge, quickly becoming the standard for traditional education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Autonomous Learner: An individual who takes responsibility for his or her learning.

Cloud-Based Technology: Resources are stored in the virtual environment that allow access from multiple venues rather than being restrictive to one geographical location.

Distributed Knowledge: Information dispersed throughout a community of practice and not held by any one individual.

Chat Bot: A chat robot.

Blockchain: The authentication of digital credentialing.

Constructivism: An approach in which students share responsibility for their learning, while negotiating meaning through active participation in the co-creation of shared understanding within the learning context.

Collaborative Learning: The process in which individuals negotiate and generate meaning and solutions to problems through shared understanding.

Interaction: Mutual communicative exchange between individuals.

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