Constructivism as a Learning Theory assumes a greater role for relationships between learners and the world than in Behaviourism.  The teacher is no longer the only source of knowledge or facts, and students construct knowledge gained both from the teacher, and from their own experiences and sources outside of the classroom.

As in Behaviourism, the world exists independently of us, however there is an acceptance in Constructivism that it cannot be well defined (Schuh & Barab, 2008, p. 71).

Associated Teaching Techniques

Constructivism describes the reorganisation of information (learning) as an individual activity (Ausubel, 1961), and so Direct Instruction and similar forms of instructional techniques used in Behaviourism are inappropriate.  However, students may still be guided in their learning by the teacher, so the provision of clear Lesson Intentions and Success Criteria can be useful instructional techniques to allow students to judge their own success as learners, although the criteria for success are still set by the teacher rather than the student themselves.

The Flipped Classroom is a technique that has been gaining popularity in recent times, and works well with students who are are to work autonomously.  Discovery Learning also works well, but unlike Flipping which focuses on changing the way content is delivered, Discovery Learning has a greater focus on changing the way students synthesise knowledge.

Students that show a high level of attention, but without ownership of their own learning, learn well under Constructivist learning theories, and can best be described as Strategically Compliant under the Schlechty model for engagement.

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