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Between Constructivist Learning and Direct Instruction - Essay Example

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Between Constructivist Learning and Direct Instruction

Direct instruction proponents dispute the latest trend in education strategies which encourages learners to construct their own learning via minimal guidance even without prior knowledge of underlying concepts, principles, and processes (Baumann, 1982). They say that this method goes against the human cognitive architecture, that is, learners can only churn out, via long term memory, what was previously inputted to them. Constructivist Learning Constructivist learning, in whatever form it may be, is rooted from the works of Piaget and Vygotsky (Gallagher & Reid, 2002; Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006; Hmelo-Silver, Duncan, & Chinn, 2007). Constructivists propose that learning occurs when knowledge is constructed by the learner through personal experiences, interaction with the environment, and scaffolding guidance of an adult or more experienced person. In response to Kirschner et al’s (2006) position that minimally guided instruction is less effective that direct instruction, Hmelo-Silver, et al (2007) pointed out that a number of constructivist strategies, specifically problem-based and inquiry learning, utilize more than just minimal guidance during scaffolding. They say that scaffolding takes place at a high rate in problem-based and inquiry learning, thus refuting Kirschner, et al’s position. Moreover, Hmelo-Silver (2007) produced a long list of studies and researches which attested to the effectiveness of problem-based and inquiry learning. Another notable point that constructivists try to emphasize is that positive effects of employing constructivist approaches may not be immediately observed from standardized tests (Hiebert, Stigler, & Jacobs, 2005; Hmelo-Silver, Duncan, & Chinn,...
So much debate has been going on to pinpoint exactly which mode of instruction would produce the best results for a learner. While it may be disappointing to think that no one has found the secret formula to learning yet, the on-going debate is a welcome clash of ideas because it means that educators still have not rested on the age-old established “facts” about learning and are still very much in the quest for the improvement of the ease and effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. Maybe no one has found the secret formula yet because there may be no secret formula at all. Perhaps the only reliable “fact” about learning is that each learner is unique; what might work for one may not work for another. The best that we can hope for is that at the end of the day, teachers/educators/facilitators have done their best in trying to create an appropriate and effective learning environment for the child. ...Show more


The value of self-constructed learning over direct instruction has probably been the most notable point of discussion in the field of education during the 21st century. Constructivists argue that learners should be able to construct knowledge from their own set of experiences and from their environment …
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Between Constructivist Learning and Direct Instruction essay example
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