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authors Duffy, T.M. and Cunningham, D.J.
year 1996
title Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of instruction
source D.H. Jonassen, (Ed) Handbook of research for educational communications and technology, N.Y; Macmillan Library reference USA
summary This will be a seminar that examines Constructivist theory as it applies to our thinking about instruction. Many folks think of constructivism as a method of instruction -- it is not. It is a framework for thinking about learning or what it means to come to know. As such, it is a framework for understanding (interpreting) any learning environment as well as a framework for designing instruction. The seminar will be organized around weekly readings. We will examine the alternative constructivist theories, e.g., socio-cultural constructivism and cognitive constructivism, and the pragmatism of Richard Rorty. However, rather than focusing on the differences between these frameworks, our emphasis will be on the implications of the broader, common framework for the design of instruction. Hence we will spend most of the semester discussing strategies for designing and delivering instruction, e.g., the work of Bransford, Collins, Pea, Jonassen, Spiro, Fosnot, Senge, and Schank. We will consider both business and schooling environments for learning -- there is significant work in both domains. There will be particular emphasis of the use of technology in instruction. We will look at the communication, information, and context providing roles of technology as contrasted to the traditional approach of using technology to deliver instruction (to teach). We will also pay particular attention to problem based learning as one instructional model. In PBL there is particular emphasis on the role of the facilitator as a learning coach (process orientation) as opposed to a content provider. There is also a particular emphasis on supporting the development of abductive reasoning skills so that the learner develops the ability to be an effective problem solver in the content domain. The major paper/project for the course will be the design of instruction to train individuals to be learning coaches in a problem based learning or goal based scenario learning environment. That is, how do you support teachers in adapting the role of learning coach (which, of course, requires us to understand what it means to be a learning coach). Design teams will be formed with the teams all working on this same design problem. A comprehensive prototype of the learning environment is required as well as a paper provide the theoretical framework and rationale for the design strategy. While not required, I would expect that computer technology will play a significant role in the design of your learning environment. With that in mind, let me note that it is not required that the prototype be delivered on the computer, i.e., I am not requiring programming skills but rather design skills and so "storyboards" is all that is required.
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