Saturday, July 23, 2011

Constructivism and Contructionism with Generating Hypothesis

This week our Walden course is covering the learning theories of Constructivism and Constructivism.  In the webcast, Constructivism and Constructionism, Michael Orey summarizes the theories respectively as “a theory that each individual actively constructs his or her own meaning” and that “people learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can share with others” (Education Laureate, 2008).   This concept was illustrated in practice when we read about Learning by Design (LBD).  Learning by Design is a template that emerges from advocates of both theories.  “The essence of Learning by Design is in the construction of meaning.  Designers (learners) create objects or artifacts representing a learning outcome that is meaningful to them” (Orey, 2001).

Our challenge this week was to juxtapose Contructivism and Contructionism and Marzano’s strategy, Generating and Testing Hypothesis.  While generating and testing hypothesis, the students are “engaging in complex mental processes, applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content” (Pitler et. al, 2007).  In the text, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, Piter et al summarizes this strategy with two recommendations:

·      “The generating and testing of hypotheses can be approached in an inductive or deductive manner.
·      Teachers should ask students to clearly explain their hypotheses and their conclusions” (2007).

To compare the strategy with the theory, it was easier to visualize when dissecting it through the format of Learning by Design, essentially the two theories in action.  There are four goals for a Learning by Design environment.  These goals neatly pair with the processes describe by Pitler et al above. 

1.     LBD promotes students “extracting essential concepts and skills from examples and experiences”, a combination of engaging in the complex mental processes and applying content knowledge.
2.     LBD “engages learners in learning”, again, a connection to the complex mental processes necessary to facilitate the task properly.
3.     LBD “encourages question posing”, a link to the process of inductive or deductive reasoning on the part of the student.
4.     LBD “confronts conceptions and misconceptions”, an experience linked to the recommendation that teachers should ask students to clearly explain their hypothesis and conclusions.  This connection between the theories and the strategy is also illustrated in the components of LBD, which call for; “rich, varied feedback for designers, discussion and collaboration, experimentation and exploration, along with reflection”.
(Orey, 2001)

Clearly, using Learning by Design as a template for lessons, especially those that call for students to hypothesize, utilizes many of the main concepts of Constructivism and Constructionism.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2008). Contstructionist and Constructivism. Baltimore: Executive Producer

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

1 comment:

  1. You gave a nice connection to the Learning by Design model. The goals are nicely matched with the strategy Generating and Testing Hypotheses.
    In addition, I felt that the technology used and explained in this chapter also followed suit with the points you make. The spreadsheets, etc. will help students to create new ideas and questions as they work to create something on the computer, and this will allow students to build their own learning (Orey, 2001).

    Nicole deMoll

    Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from