Constructivism and Constructionism

A big part of my literature review is about the many types of learning theories, though I may not be able to cover a lot. My research interest is about learning and pedagogy theories. I really want to understand how we learn? What actually happen during our learning process? Why we do what we do in learning? And the biggest questions is how my research will improve learning?

I have been reading a bit (though not as much as I wish I had during the holiday…and I know I’m way behind my schedule and I’m very guilty about my lack of progress), I found many learning theories which have been popularized over a few decades. Of course, eventually there is always new learning theory popping up in our world but learning the old theories that have been here for decades are as important and interesting.

Two such learning theories are Constructivism by Jean Piaget and Constructionism by Seymour Papert (based on the idea of Piaget). At first glance, these theories look alike with their names almost similar. That’s understandable as Papert’s Constructionism is greatly based on Piaget’s Constructivism with improvement.

I haven’t finished reading about these but so far what I understand are:

Constructivism is what Piaget believes that we learn by experience reflection and we construct our own meaning (mentally) during the learning process.

Constructionism on the other hand, is what Papert believes that what Piaget said is true, however learning is more effective if we construct artifacts instead. Artifacts can be anything material: books, computer program, etc. Papert believes that we learn better if we can produce what we learn.

What I found is more of Papert’s Constructionism in our education  today. We teach our children by doing lessons. We don’t just give theory and new idea, we test idea by building up the idea in class. Even us in higher education practices constructionism by producing article, report, computer program etc.

These are only my initial thoughts and they may evolve as I read more. Back to reading after work.


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