Constructivist Theory Of Discovery Learning

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Learning theories are concepts about how humans learn new things. They focus on how information is taken in and saved by the brain. They describe our understanding of the material that is being presented. The three most well-known learning theories are cognitivism, constructivism and behaviorism. Cognitivism attempts to explain human behavior by understanding your thought processes. Constructivism says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. Behaviorism is a theory that assumes a learner is passive, only responding to environmental stimuli. The learner starts off as a clean slate and behavior is shaped through positive reinforcement or negative …show more content…
Each theory centers on how students learn a skill. With discovery based learning, however, students learn by doing, rather than observing. This theory is tied into the constructivist theory that focuses on problem solving situations and connects to students’ past experiences. Scholars assume that by having students learn on their own by using manipulatives, students will retain information better. Bruner (1961) introduced this theory in, but Piaget, Dewey and Papert have also been credited with similar ideas related to discovery-based learning. Castronova (2002) identified the five characteristics of discovery learning that make it different from traditional learning models. Those characteristics are problem solving, learner management, integrating and connecting, information analysis and interpretation, and failure and feedback. Many scholars who study this theory believe that students go through each principle as they use discovery learning. Castronova argued that in the first principle learning is active and students must participate in hands-on and problem-solving activities. Secondly, Castronova suggests that discovery learning highlights the process instead of the end product. This encourages mastery and application of the material. Thirdly, the lessons learned from failure encourage the student to continue to search for solutions. Castronova also says that feedback is an essential part of the learning process and that collaboration and discussion allow students to develop a deeper understanding. Finally, discovery learning fulfills human curiosity and may promote an individual interest in the subject matter. This type of learning has advantages as it creates motivation, creativity and involvement in the learning. It also adjusts to the learner, as they are the one discovering the material. There are also disadvantages as well. Discovery based learning must have a solid framework

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