Online Learning Propelled by Constructivism

Online Learning Propelled by Constructivism

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7365-4.ch036
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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 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.
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While the constructivist method has been highly emphasized in the recent literature for online distance education (Brown, L. 2014; Bryant & Bates, 2015; Holzweiss, Joyner, Fuller, Henderson, & Young, 2014; Lê & Lê, 2012; “Learning Theories”, 2014; Mbati & Minnaar, 2015; 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.

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