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Cognition and Instruction - Assignment Example

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Question 1: Constructivism is a theory that asserts that learning is an activity that is individual to the learner. This theory assumes that individuals will try to understand information that they perceive, and that each individual will as a consequence “construct” their own interpretation from that information…
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Download file to see previous pages As humans interpret each new situation, they will constantly revise their own mental models to reflect the new information, and will, therefore, construct their own interpretation of reality. Constructivism is often compared to objectivism, which is usually quoted as being the opposite of constructivism. Objectivist theory is primarily based on the work of behaviorists such as B.F. Skinner. Objectivists believe that information itself is knowable outside the bounds of any human mind, and that any individual interpretation of knowledge can be said to be either correct or incorrect. Objectivists view individual pieces of information as symbols or currency that can be acquired by humans, and can be transferred from human to human should the correct learning conditions exist. While much of the early work in traditional educational and instructional design derived from objectivist theory, modern academic minds have come to accept that learning environments which more closely match the needs of constructivist learning may be more effective. The perceived benefits of constructivist learning may be particularly valuable where the teaching of complex skills, such as problem solving or critical thinking skills are concerned. If we accept that constructivist theory is the best way to define learning, then it follows that in order to promote student learning it is necessary to create learning environments that directly expose the learner to the material being studied. For only by experiencing the world directly can the learner derive meaning from them. This gives rise to the view that constructivist learning must take place within a suitable constructivist learning environment. One of the central tenants of all constructivist learning is that it has to be an active process; therefore, any CLE must provide the opportunity for active learning. There are four basic characteristics of CLEs, which must be considered when implementing constructivist instructional strategies: 1) Knowledge will be shared between teachers and students. 2) Teachers and students will share authority. 3) The teacher’s role is one of a facilitator or guide. 4) Learning groups will consist of small numbers of heterogeneous students. The teacher’s role in a CLE must include spending time developing or preparing the CLE for the students to use. This can require detailed preparation to ensure that the students are exposed to relevant authentic tasks. For example, this may encompass preparing collaborative environments to expose students to multiple perspectives. It can also include the design of situated learning cases that match the student’s zone of proximal development, or the design of problems for problem based learning environments where the students have no experience of the subject matter under study. Constructivist pedagogical models are sometimes classified into two separately identifiable groups: 1) Those that are derived from social constructivism, which grew out of the works of the Swiss philosopher and psychologist, Piaget, and therefore emphasize the need for collaboration and social interaction. 2) Those that derive from Cognitive constructivism, which grew out of the work of the Russian psychologist, Vygotsky, and therefore emphasize the importance of authentic meaningful tasks. Learning environmen ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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