Psychology - Constructionism


Constructionism is a constructivist learning theory and theory of instruction. It states that building knowledge occurs best through building things that are tangible an sharable (Ackerman et al., 2009: 56). “ Constructionism (in the context of learning) is the idea that people learn effectively through making things. Constructionism is connected with experiential learning and builds on some of the ideas of Jean Piaget.”

“ Constructionism--the N word as opposed to the V word--shares constructivism's connotation of learning as "building knowledge structures" irrespective of the circumstances of the learning. It then adds the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it's a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe. ” (Papert, 1991b). “ Constructivism, in a nutshell, states that children are the builders of their own cognitive tools, as well as of their external realities. In other words, knowledge and the world are both construed and interpreted through action, and mediated through symbol use. Each gains existence and form through the construction of the other. [..] Because of his focus on learning through making (on could say learning as design) Papert's 'constructionism' sheds light on how people's ideas get formed and transformed when expressed through different media, when actualized in particular contexts, when worked out by individual minds. The emphasis has shifted from general laws of development to individuals' conversation with their own representations, artifacts, or objects-to-think with.” (Ackerman, 2004).

Ackermann, Edith K. (2004). Constructing Knowledge And Transforming The world, A learning zone of one's own: Sharing representations and flow in collaborative learning environments [M. Tokoro and L.Steels (Eds.). Amsterdam, Berlin, Oxford, Tokyo, Washington, DC. IOS Press, 2004. Part 1. Chapt 2. pp. 15-37.

Constructionism Learning Theory by Seymour Papert

Problem-based learning

Problem-based learning is a constructionist method which allows students to learn about a subject by exposing them to multiple problems and asking them to construct their understanding of the subject through these problems. This kind of learning can be very effective in mathematics classes because students try to solve the problems in many different ways, stimulating their minds.[9]

The following five strategies make problem-based learning more effective:

- The learning activities should be related to a larger task. The larger task is important because it allows students to see that the activities can be applied to many aspects of life and, as a result, students are more likely to find the activities they are doing useful.
- The learner needs to be supported to feel that they are beginning to have ownership of the overall problem.
- An authentic task should be designed for the learner. This means that the task and the learner's cognitive ability have to match the problems to make learning valuable.
- Reflection on the content being learned should occur so that learners can think through the process of what they have learned.
- Allow and encourage the learners to test ideas against different views in different contexts.

Applications to Learning

3D Printing, Drawing, Sculpting, Logo Language Programming, LEGO (LEGO Mindstorms and LEGO Serious Play), toothpick models, popcicle sticks, Swift Playgrounds, Media (video, audio, television, film, play, poetry, song, publishing)

Articles and Research

Boytchev, P. (2015). Constructionism and DeconstructionismConstructivist Foundations10(3), 355-363.

Efran, J. S., McNamee, S., Warren, B., & Raskin, J. D. (2014). Personal Construct Psychology, Radical Constructivism, and Social Constructionism: A DialogueJournal Of Constructivist Psychology27(1), 1-13.

Lenartowicz, M. (2016). Linking Social Communication to Individual Cognition: Communication Science Between Social Constructionism and Radical ConstructivismConstructivist Foundations12(1), 48-50.

Michailakis, D., & Schirmer, W. (2014). Social work and social problems: A contribution from systems theory and constructionismInternational Journal Of Social Welfare23(4), 431-442.

Noss, R., & Clayson, J. (2015). Reconstructing ConstructionismConstructivist Foundations10(3), 285-288.

Peterson, D. (2012). Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Limits of Social ConstructionismJournal For The Theory Of Social Behaviour42(4), 465-484.

Zhong-Zheng, L., Yuan-Bang, C., & Chen-Chung, L. (2013). A constructionism framework for designing game-like learning systems: Its effect on different learnersBritish Journal Of Educational Technology44(2), 208-224. 

Some Web Resources on Constructionism

A Journey into Constructivism
A blog that discusses the concepts of both Constructivism and Constructionism.

LEGO Foundation Centre for Creativity, Play, and Learning

Situated Constructionism by Seymour Papert and Idit Harel (From their book Constructionism - Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1991)

Getting a Grip on Project-Based Learning: Theory, Cases, and Recommendations

Makerspace for Education

Changing Minds - Constructionism and Constructivism

Constructionism: A Learning Theory and a Model for Maker Education

Ideas on an Outline

Piaget, Genetic Epistimology, and Constructivism

Vygotsky, Collaborative/Cooperative Learning, Scaffolding, and the Social Nature of Learning

Introduction to Constructionism (History)

Constructionism (Learning Theory)

Social Constructionism and Radical Constructivism

Situating Constructionism

Applied Constructionism - Science and Math | Social Studies | Social Sciences | Medicine | Allied Health | Childhood Education



Constructionism Labs

- 3D Printing
- Toothpics and Pocicle Sticks
- Media Constructionism
- Swift Playgrounds
- Drawing / Sculpting ? Etc.