Constructivist Learning Perspective
Lauren Miller

The Constructivist Theory focuses on the idea that students learn from their own experiences. In this theory of learning students build upon prior knowledge and experiences to construct new knowledge to solve realistic problems (Doolittle & Camp, 1999). In this theory learning should be ongoing and personalized.

In the constructivist theory education should be acquired by creating real world environments for the students (Doolittle & Camp, 1999). By creating environments that simulate real job opportunities or real life experiences the students can learn how to apply the concepts they have already learned to complete real life tasks. By incorporating real life situations into career and technical education the students can see how what they are learning is relevant to their life goals. Students should also work with others while completing the tasks. By working with others it allows students to be involved in social interaction with each other and will help enhance their social skills (Doolittle & Camp, 1999).

In the constructivist theory the role of educators is very different than in other educational theories. In this theory teachers serve more as a guide for instruction and teaching and not someone who simply states facts and has their students regurgitate the information back. In this theory the teacher “creates experiences in which the students will participate that will lead to appropriate processing and knowledge acquisition” (Doolittle & Camp, 1999, p. 9). Because students come to the classroom with different experiences and prior knowledge it is also important for teachers to give the students many different opportunities and perspectives of the information being taught (Doolittle & Camp, 1999).

Ways to use the Constructivist Learning Perspective in the classroom:
Because the demand for students in Career and Technical Education classes is to have current job skills along with critical thinking skills and the ability to solve problems, there are many ways to use the constructivist learning perspective in the career and technical education classroom. Students can work on small group exercises, create multimedia presentations on subjects learned, and do Webquests. Teachers can also use simulators to help resemble real world situations such as businesses where the students can better understand the topics discussed in class through putting them to use.

Related Papers and Links:

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JVTE/v16n1/doolittle.html
http://starfsfolk.khi.is/solrunb/construc.htm
http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/resources/constructivistlearning.html
http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Teachers_Page/Language_Learning_Articles/constructivist_learning.htm
http://www.grout.demon.co.uk/Barbara/chreods.htm
http://www.sedl.org/pubs/sedletter/v09n03/practice.html
http://www.miamisci.org/ph/lpintro5e.html


D. Resources:

Doolittle, P. E. & Camp, W. G. (1999). Constructivism: The Career and Technical Education Perspective. Journal of Vocational and Technical Education , 16 (1).