Learning Models and Strategies and the Constructionism in Modern Education Settings: With Applications in Modern Learning of Biology

Learning Models and Strategies and the Constructionism in Modern Education Settings: With Applications in Modern Learning of Biology

Mariana. Iancu (Bioterra University of Bucharest, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5430-1.ch012


The researcher has shown the importance and necessity of the combination of didactic models of learning of one part of biology to obtain the best results in construction of biological concepts, by students' effort, in according with Papert's constructionism ideas (e.g., those that refers to learning by doing) to digital technology, both with cognitive benefits and formative and emotional benefits. The researcher recommends using an empirical-psycho-sociocentrically combined didactical model based on the rediscovery of learning strategies by constructionism of new biological concepts by efforts of students, according to their individual and age peculiarities, taking in mind their training for social life. In alternation or in combination with the empirical-psycho-sociocentrically didactical model a logo-psihocentrically modernized didactical model, respectively presentation of science as a finished product, respecting the individual and age peculiarities of students, using an attractive and productive procedure can be applied.
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Constructionist learning is when learners construct mental models to understand the world around them and to discover it, when people are active in making tangible objects in the real world, and builds on Jean Piaget ' s epistemological theory of constructivism. “For Piaget, children and adults use mental patterns (schemes) to guide behavior or cognition, and interpret new experiences or material in relation to existing schemes.” (Cakir, 2008, p. 194). As they have shown Alesandrini and Larson (2002) the constructionism advocates student-centered, discovery learning where students use information they already know to acquire more knowledge, “Rather than requiring an understanding before applying that understanding to the construction of something, students in a constructivist classroom learn concepts while exploring their application. During this application process, students explore various solutions and learn through discovery.” (p. 118). Given the changes occurring in education in the Knowledge Society, of the 21st Century, here are some questions that have guided the author in her research in correlation with the constructionism:

  • “Really, traditional training model can meet the new requirements for training of students in contemporary society?”

  • “Given the growing need to improve the lives and environment, would it be necessary to promote a biological education that would foster the students ' spirit of inquiry, their intellectual activity, active thinking, fast and accurate, to put students in the position to search the solutions, cooperation in investigations?”;

  • “What would be the didactical models and strategies that would best contribute to the formation of such personalities?”

The researcher tried to find answers to these questions, but also to others who came along.

In this sense, considered the promotion of inductive, deductive, by analogy, directed / semidirected rediscovery (heuristic) strategies depending on the students’ individual particularities and on the students’ age particularities, the promotion of individual rediscovery or team rediscovery strategies, corresponding to the empirio-psycho-sociocentrically combined model. The learning by rediscovery has its basis a direct or mediated contact with the real objects and phenomena, consisting in the sensing of what is hidden beyond their the external aspects and manifestations. “Instead of a verbalized and passive education based on the transmission and acceptance of ready-made knowledge, this new way of organizing school learning is grounded on the effort idea, preoccupied, so, to put the pupil in direct contact with the world of objects and phenomena, to exhort him to his searchs, explorations, researchs, attempts and own experiments, to the rediscovery of the truths, as far as possible, through his personal forces.” (Cerghit, 1983, p. 34).

The learning by rediscovery corresponds to constructionism, that is an educational philosophy developed by Seymour Aubrey Papert, a constructivist learning theory and theory of instruction. “Papert’s constructionism, in contrast with Piaget's constructivism, focuses more on the art of learning, or ‘learning to learn’, and on the significance of making things in learning.” (Ackermann, 2001, p. 85).

Seymour Aubrey Papert was an American scientist, inventor, and educator, who spent most of his career teaching and researching at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, being one of the constructionist movement in education. “The simplest definition of constructionism evokes the idea of learning-by-making.” (Papert & Harel, 1991, para 14).

“Because of his focus on learning through making (on could say learning as design) Papert's 'constructionism' sheds light on how people's ideas get formed and transformed when expressed through different media, when actualized in particular contexts, when worked out by individual minds.” (Ackerman, 2004, p.19)

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