2 Tutorials that teach Introduction to Constructivist Based Teaching and Learning Strategies
Take your pick:
Introduction to Constructivist Based Teaching and Learning Strategies

Introduction to Constructivist Based Teaching and Learning Strategies

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson students will learn the constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

See More

Like what you're learning?

Designing for the 21st Century Classroom

Take the whole course from Capella University FOR FREE


Source: Image of light bulb, Public Domain, http://pixabay.com/en/the-light-bulb-light-bulb-lighting-349400/

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Welcome to tutorial on Introduction to Constructivist Based Teaching and Learning Strategies. In this tutorial, we will discuss the questions, what is constructivist based teaching and learning, as well as what does constructivist teaching and learning look like in the classroom? What are some examples of that?

Let's start with talking about what exactly is constructivist teaching and learning in the classroom. In this type of teaching and learning students learn by constructing and creating their own meanings. Constructivist classrooms are centered around the learners. And the students are given a voice. They're given choices in their learning. Much of the learning is done using inquiry methods where the teachers are providing the content and the content knowledge and facilitating, but the students are using inquiry based learning activities. They're using these activities to create new meanings and problem solve and transfer their understandings.

If you think back to the tutorial on understanding by design, think about the concept of transference and how that relates here. Students are transferring their learning.

What does this type of learning, constructivist teaching and constructivist learning look like in the classroom? There's strong student engagement. Students generate their own ideas. They inquire. The learning tasks and the activities, what the students are doing, is relevant. They're authentic. The activities are generated from those questions.

In this type of classroom, there is strong collaboration and communication, as well. Group work is essential in this type of classroom as students work together to problem solve and use inquiry based learning. In constructivist classrooms students have a choice. And they have a voice in their learning. They're able to guide their learning through questions and inquiry.

In a constructivist classroom new meanings are constructed. Again, using inquiry methods allows students to construct those new meanings by problem solving and transferring understandings.

In constructivist classrooms, students transfer their new understandings to all kinds of different situations. They use this transfer of understanding to solve new problems. The activities in a constructivist classroom require high order thinking skills. Complex ideas are needed and complex thinking skills are needed to be actively engaged in a constructivist classroom.

Students are engaged in inquiry. This is the basis of the constructivist teaching model. Students are engaged. They're collaborating. And there's questions involved.

In the constructivist teaching and learning environment, students learn and understand different and varied perspectives. Collaboration and communication is key. Group work is also key in a constructivist classroom.

And in this type of classroom, students reflect on their learning. They're able to self-assess, look at their ideas. There are questions that were generated, revised goals, and guide learning based on interests and reflection.

Let's look at an example of what a constructivist lesson might look like. Here, we have a lesson that is constructivist on habitats and the restoration of habitats. In this lesson, students will explore a wetland habitat at a park nearby the school. Together, the class will discuss habitats using questions such as what are the basic needs of living things? How do living things depend on each other for survival? What happens when there are changes within habitats? Can we help protect habitats and the animals within?

Students will also generate their own questions individually and in groups to discuss together. In groups, students will research one habitat, the animals, food chains, and the issues within that specific habitat. The groups will then create a website, or a wiki, on habitat restoration for their habitat using their own ideas as a guide for where this website, or wiki, will go.

So you can see here that this is a constructivist lesson by looking at some of the elements we discussed in the constructivist teaching and what a classroom looks like that's based in constructivist teaching. Students here are given opportunities to have choice in their learning. They're able to choose, as a group, a specific habitat. They're not given that. They're able to choose that.

Groups will create a website or a wiki. And they're able to use any ideas that they know about habitat restoration to create that. This is an engaging activity that's relevant and authentic to the students' lives. We're using a field trip to help generate interest. And then, students are generating questions.

Let's apply these ideas by reflecting on the questions, have you experienced constructivist learning in your own education? Have you been in a classroom where a teacher used constructivism to guide your learning? What do you think the challenges of using constructivist learning might be for yourself?

Let's talk about what we learned today. What is constructivist based teaching and learning? And what does constructivist teaching and learning look like? We talked about the basis for constructivist teaching and learning, how it needs strong engagement, relevant and authentic learning tasks, and collaboration and communication are key in this environment. Constructivism is based in inquiry and high order thinking skills and gives students the opportunity to understand varied perspectives, transfer their learning and reflect.

We went through a lesson that was based in constructivist methods where students were able to guide their learning by creating questions of interest and having choice in their final product.

Thanks for joining me today as we talked about constructivist based teaching and learning strategies. I hope you're able to use these ideas in your own classroom. For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Introduction to Constructivist Based Teaching and Learning Strategies"


(00:00- 00:18) Introduction/objectives

(00:19- 01:10) What is Constructivist Teaching and Learning?

(01:11- 03:07) What does the Constructivist classroom look like?

(03:08- 04:47) Example Constructivist lesson

(04:48- 05:05) Reflection/application questions

(05:06- 06:16) Review 

Additional Resources

Constructivist Teaching and Learning

This site is the result of a Master's thesis by Audrey Gray that explores constructivist teaching and learning in an English Language Arts classroom. The information provides an authentic look at one teacher's implementation of constructivist teaching and learning. The link for the classroom example of constructivist teaching is particularly helpful.

Transforming Constructivist Learning into Action: Design Thinking in Education

This article from Design and Technology Education emphasizes improvement in student learning when design thinking with a constructivist approach is taken in the classroom. In the body of the article are useful strategies backed by research for teachers to use in their lessons and instructional design.