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constructing rather than acquiring knowledge

Constructivism is about learning being an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. The learner brings past experiences and cultural factors to a current situation and each person has a different interpretation and construction of the knowledge process.

Vygotsky’s (1978) theory is one of the foundations of constructivism. It asserts three major themes.

  1. Social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. Vygotsky felt social learning precedes development and stated: Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological) (Vygotsky, 1978 page 57).
  2. The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The MKO refers to anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally the teacher, or an older adult, but the MKO could also be a peer, a younger person, or even information from the internet.
  3. The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD is the distance between a learner’s ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer collaboration and their ability to solve the problem independently. According to Vygotzky, learning occurs in this zone.

Think of these themes as:

  1. what the learner can do
  2. what the learner can do with help from others
  3. what the learner can’t do yet but will attempt to do
linked mentions for "constructing rather than acquiring knowledge":
  1. pragmatist spacial experiential learning theories

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