Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger)

Summary: Etienne Wenger summarizes Communities of Practice (CoP) as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” This learning that takes place is not necessarily intentional. Three components are required in order to be a CoP: (1) the domain, (2) the community, and (3) the practice. Originators: Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger in 1991 and further elaborated in 1998. Key Terms: domain, community, practice, identity, learning Communities of Practice The term was first used in 1991 by theorists Jean...

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Social Development Theory (Vygotsky)

Summary: Social Development Theory argues that social interaction precedes development; consciousness and cognition are the end product of socialization and social behavior. Originator: Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934). Key terms: Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory is the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934), who lived during Russian Revolution. Vygotsky’s work was largely unkown to the West until it was published in 1962. Vygotsky’s theory is one of the...

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Constructivism

Summary: Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective. Originators and important contributors: Vygotsky, Piaget, Dewey, Vico, Rorty, Bruner Keywords: Learning as experience, activity and dialogical process; Problem Based Learning (PBL); Anchored instruction; Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD);...

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Discovery Learning (Bruner)

Summary: Discovery Learning is a method of inquiry-based instruction, discovery learning believes that it is best for learners to discover facts and relationships for themselves. Originator: Jerome Bruner (1915-) Keywords: Inquiry-based learning, constructivism Discovery Learning (Bruner) Discovery learning is an inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned. Students interact with the world by...

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Stage Theory of Cognitive Development (Piaget)

Summary: Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development is a description of cognitive development as four distinct stages in children: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, and formal. Originator: Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Key Terms: Sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, formal, accommodation, assimilation. Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development Swiss biologist and psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) observed his children (and their process of making sense of the world around them) and eventually developed a four-stage model of how the mind processes new information...

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