Citation: Wilson, B. (1996). What is a Constructivist Learning Environment? Constructivist learning environments (pp. 3-8). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, Inc. Retrieved fromhttp://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mpsHa5f712wC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq...
Summary: Summarizes the variety of meanings of constructivist learning that are used in the rest of the edited volume. These may be helpful for people examining and critiquing spaces (virtual and physical) where learning takes place.
- Common metaphors for instruction
- Time and place -- instruction is what goes on in classrooms during class times.
- Product delivery -- information-processing and transmission is instruction.
- Systems and processes -- instruction is the steps or stages, inputs and outputs, interlocking mechanisms, and control of flow surrounding learning.
- Relationship between models of knowledge and methods of instruction: "If you think of knowledge as . . .
- a quantity or packet of content to be transmitted -- then you may tend to think of instruction as a product to be delivered by a vehicle.
- a cognitive state reflected in schemas and procedural skils -- then you may tend to think of instruction as a set of strategies aimed at changing an individual's schema.
- meanings constructed by interaction with the environment -- then you may tend to think of instruction as a learner drawing on tools and resources within a rich environment.
- enculturation or adoption of a group's ways of seeing and acting -- then you may tend to think of instruction as participation in a community's everyday activities."
- A learning environment
- emphasizes the place or space where learning occurs.
- emphasizes the tools used in that space.
- allows students to exercise some initiative and choice.
- is a place where learning is fostered and supported.
- seems fuzzy and ill-defined.
- allows a level of uncertainty and lack of control.
- may appear chaotic at times.
- needs to facilitate support and guidance.
- is used by learning communities.
- is "...a place where learners may work together and support each other as they use a variety of tools and information resources in their guided pursuit of learning goals and problem-solving activities."
- Components of a learning environment (Perkins, 1991). Each can include minimalist components and rich components.
- Information banks (repositories)
- Symbol pads (surfaces for constructing and manipulating symbols and language.
- Phenomenaria (areas for presenting, observing, and manipulating phenomena).
- Construction kits (packaged collections of content for assembly and manipulation).
- Task managers (elements of the environment that set tasks and provide guidance, feedback, and changes in direction. The student becomes a co-task manager along with the teacher).