EDUCATIONAL-ROBOTICS-CONSTRUCTIONISM

Educational Robotics and Constructionism (Papert)

Summary: Constructionism as a learning theory emphasizes student-centered discovery learning, and educators are currently expanding its reach to the field of educational robotics in order to engage students.

Originators and Key Contributors: Seymour Papert took Piaget’s theory of constructivism and adapted it into his theory of constructionism.

Keywords: constructivism, constructionism, learning theory, discovery learning, educational robotics, technology

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ONLINE-COLLABORATIVE-LEARNING-THEORY

Online Collaborative Learning Theory (Harasim)

Summary: Online collaborative learning theory, or OCL, is a form of constructivist teaching that takes the form of instructor-led group learning online. In OCL, students are encouraged to collaboratively solve problems through discourse instead of memorizing correct answers. The teacher plays a crucial role as a facilitator as well as a member of the knowledge community under study.

Originators and Key Contributors:

Linda Harasim, professor at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, developed online collaborative learning theory (OCL) in 2012 from a theory originally called computer-mediated communication (CMC), or networked learning.

Keywords: collaborative learning, internet, virtual classroom, e-learning, discourse, constructivism

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LEARNER-CENTERED-DESIGN

Learner-centered design

Summary: Learner centered design focuses on creating software for heterogeneous groups of learners who need scaffolding as they learn while completing constructivist activities.

Originators and Key Contributors: Elliot Soloway, Mark Guzdian, Kenneth E. Hay

Keywords: constructivism, learner-centered design, learners, scaffolding, software

Learner-centered Design

Learner-centered design (LCD) theory emphasizes the importance of supporting the learners’ growth and motivational needs in designing software. In addition, since learners have different learning needs and learn in different ways, the software must be designed for the specific learner-audience.

The concept of scaffolds is central to learner-centered design. In order to support learners optimally, software should be designed with scaffolds that will support the learners as they need it. Examples of scaffolds in software are hints, explanation and encouragement to help learners understand a process, and questions to help learners reflect on what they are learning.

Software scaffolds that support learners best are adaptive, meaning that they change according to what the learner needs in any learning moment. When a learner needs more support, the software provides an increase in feedback to help the learner grow, stay engaged, and progress in mastering a skill. When the learner is reaching mastery, the software will provide reduced scaffolds in response to the learner’s increased skill level.

In focusing on learner-centered design, four elements must be addressed in designing the software. They are:

  1. Context: The goal, purpose, and audience of the software
  2. Interface: The front end and/or aesthetics of the software that learners interact with
  3. Tasks: What the learners will do in the software
  4. Tools: What is needed in the software to support the tasks that students will do; these can include scaffolds

Designing software from a LCD perspective keeps the learner in mind and, if done well, provides an effective and meaningful learning experience.

For more information on learner-centered design, read The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences.

CONSTRUCTIVISM-SUMMARY

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[1], Piaget[2], 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); cognitive apprenticeship (scaffolding); inquiry and discovery learning.

Constructivism

A reaction to didactic approaches such as behaviorism and programmed instruction, constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate (tabula rasa) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation[3][4].

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CONNECTIVISM

Connectivism (Siemens, Downes)

Summary: Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves.

Originators & Proponents: George Siemens, Stephen Downes

Keywords: communication, connection, distributed cognition, distributed learning, information, Internet, knowledge sharing, links, massive open online course (MOOC), nodes, online, open educational resources (OER), social networks

Connectivism (Siemens, Downes)

Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves. These technologies include Web browsers, email, wikis, online discussion forums, social networks, YouTube, and any other tool which enables the users to learn and share information with other people.

A key feature of connectivism is that much learning can happen across peer networks that take place online. In connectivist learning, a teacher will guide students to information and answer key questions as needed, in order to support students learning and sharing on their own. Students are also encouraged to seek out information on their own online and express what they find. A connected community around this shared information often results.

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ANCHORED-INSTRUCTION

Anchored Instruction (Bransford, Cognition & Technology Group at Vanderbilt)

Summary: Anchored Instruction involves the use of an “anchor” material or media, often a video, to create a shared experience among learners and a beginning point for further learning on a topic.

Originators & Proponents: Cognition & Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV), John D. Bransford

Keywords: anchor, case-based learning, case study, curriculum, discussion, shared experience, situated cognition, social learning, technology, video

Anchored instruction (Cognition & Technology Group at Vanderbilt, Bransford)

Anchored instruction involves the use of an “anchor” material or piece of media, often a video, to create a shared experience among learners and a beginning point for further learning on a topic[1]. The anchor video should support a few key instructional objectives. It should be:

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COMMUNITIES-OF-PRACTICE

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

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