What is Constructivism Theory & the Constructivist Approach?


Constructivism theory promotes that learners are active participants in their own learning and training. The learners use this learning and training to add meaning to their prior knowledge and experiences. According to constructivism theory, learners can learn the best when they try out a concept by themselves and then reflect on their experience. The constructivism theory was pioneered by Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Maria Montessori, and many more in the late 19th century.

This theory believes that knowledge is provided to learners. However, their understanding of the knowledge comes from within. The learners create their understandings of the information they are provided with in the training sessions. They compare it with their own experiences and use the knowledge to increase their awareness of the world. Their views might, however, change with the new knowledge, or they can dismiss it too.

Every workplace has some extent of constructivism. Let’s talk about the Constructivism Theory in more depth now.

Why a Constructivist Approach to learning is beneficial?

There are many reasons why a constructivist approach to learning benefits learners. Following are a few reasons why:

  • Learners can enjoy more when they are told to relate their own experiences to the learning. This helps them retain knowledge more easily.
  • They can put the knowledge learned from training into practice straight away. This way they can see how relevant the training is.
  • Learners prefer to focus more on thinking and understanding concepts they believe to be more important life skills than memorizing them.
  • Through this approach, learners can develop social skills, communicate easily, and instructors encourage independence.

The Constructivist Approach to Learning

Many corporations use the Constructivist approach to learning. In these training programs, the instructors are known as active agents. Through the training programs, they impart the organization’s knowledge to the employees, partners, and customers.

The instructors use the Constructivist Learning Theory as they call themselves facilitators or guides. With this theory, the learners work in groups to take on problems and decide on solutions together. Furthermore, the instructors encourage individual thinking in the learners.

While traditionally, we see the instructors at the top of the classrooms and give a lecture to the learners, with the constructivist approach, instructors are seen walking around and engaging with groups one-on-one, asking them different questions, and helping them figure out a solution together.

Putting the Constructivist Approach into Practice

Following are a few examples of how the constructivist approach to learning is put into practice:

Role-playing activities

Many corporate training sessions use role-playing as a form of constructivist learning theory. The learners can be divided into small groups that include customer service, sales, and support training by the instructor in a face-to-face setting. However, they can also use a learning management system to perform the training sessions live or through interactive videos.

Instructors ask the learners to participate in role-playing by acting as both the customer and the employee rather than just reading through protocols and telling them how to answer queries correctly. This is how the constructivist approach to learning is put into practice as the learners can relate the role-playing to similar experiences they have had before. The learners can find an effective solution to the customer’s problems through role-playing.

Collaborative problem-solving

When learners take part in training, they are told to participate, generate ideas, and take up problem-solving exercises. These exercises are based on real-world challenges the organization is facing. Such training sessions use the constructivist approach to learning.

Many employees or learners may not like to work individually. Therefore, the instructor can divide the learners into groups, and together, they can come up with solutions. This enhances engagement and collaboration between the employees.

Furthermore, the organization can use their LMS and create a place for discussions, such as a forum. The teams that have been divided by the instructor can ask questions on the forum, and they can work together and come up with effective solutions through collaboration.

Hold a debate

Organizations tend to hold training programs when they have had a major change. So, instead of getting the employees used to the new change through a Word Document or a PowerPoint presentation, they can stage a debate. The instructors can do this face-to-face or through the organization’s LMS. Also, the employees can be divided into groups for this as well – one group for those against the change and the other for the change.

Summary: What is Constructivism Theory & the Constructivist Approach?

The theory of constructivism suggests that learners look for new knowledge and relate it to their existing experiences. The constructivists believe that the learners can retain the knowledge through individual interpretation, which is enhanced by motivation and intention.

The learner’s motivation depends on how the learner moves or is allowed to move – from passive learning to active and engaged learning. For example, the learners actively extract knowledge rather than passively pushing it. The ID9 Intelligent Design enhances the learner’s engagement by using intervention learning activities aligned with espoused learning outcomes.

Theory of Constructivism linked to ID9 Intelligent Design

ID9 Intelligent Design is a constructivist approach to learning design that encourages collaborative experiential learning. The ID9 system was developed in 1997 by Catherine Mattiske (Born 1964) and is the leading learning design system in the world.

ID9 Intelligent Design is a process that builds on learning through the use of learning activities and confirms new knowledge through structured review activities The influences from theory on the design and development of instructional systems design which create the foundation to ID9® can be drawn from several areas of research including learning and psychological theory.

To enable further understanding of the `learning theory’ that has led toward our current knowledge on the application of learning and the need for aligning learning interventions to individual and corporate objectives, the following summary of researched authors is provided.

Furthermore, ID9 Intelligent Design includes training and review activities that are integrated within all steps of the ID9 Framework and Process. This framework is built on providing learning support to the learners and encouraging individual motivation and intention. Step 4 of ID9 Intelligent Design process is Connect, an activity designed to connect the learning to each participant. Furthermore, Step 6 is Major Review, which is also based on constructivism theory. It is repetition, reflection, and review linked to learning objectives that demonstrate retention of new learning and mastery of new knowledge.

Need to Know More?

If you wish to know more about how the Constructivism Theory is used in the ID9 Intelligent Design, visit our Insights and Resources and get more information.

Furthermore, you can consult a call with the ID9 Faculty team to understand how ID9 Intelligent Design enhance your organization’s learning programs. Visit our website now and find out why the ID9 Intelligent Design is the best change for your organization!