What is? Cognitive Constructivist Theory
In A Nutshell: All of these assumptions come from a theory that you see in education research called cognitive constructivist theory, which is the theory of learning that Active Learning is grounded in. When people started talking about Active Learning and trying to incorporate Active Learning teaching practices they were pulling from this theoretical framework.
The How To Guide
Learning is a social process and it’s best done when we’re interacting and manipulating and providing structure and feedback as a social group. I want to list some assumptions about our our classes, at least from the way that people who do research with education think about the learning space.
- One is that personal connection to content leads to learning. Learning is a social element where you have that personal interaction.
- The best understanding happens when a learner actively is manipulating or using or doing something with the content that we’re working in.
- People learn best when they’re interacting with each other.
- Learning is a social process.
Effective teachers are there to monitor and guide student learning by providing that timely structure, timely scaffolding, and feedback of how students are doing. That’s a big part of what our role is is helping students to not see failure as an endpoint but rather this is an opportunity for them to further learn a particular piece.
About the Author
Dr. Stephanie Kusano, is the assistant director for the Center for Research on Learning & Teaching at the University of Michigan. Her background is in engineering with a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a Master’s degree in biomedical engineering, and a Doctoral degree in engineering education. Kusano’s research focuses on how students’ learn, particularly outside of the classroom.