Constructivism
This theory is based off of the fact that learning is an active, constructive process. All knowledge is constructed from the learners previous knowledge, reguardless of how one is taught. Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences.

Video On the Constructivism Learning Theory:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=F00R3pOXzuk


There are several guiding principles of constructivism:
  1. Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning.
  2. Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts. And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts.
  3. In order to teach well, we must understand the mental models that students use to perceive the world and the assumptions they make to support those models.
  4. The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the "right" answers and regurgitate someone else's meaning. Since education is inherently interdisciplinary, the only valuable way to measure learning is to make the assessment part of the learning process, ensuring it provides students with information on the quality of their learning.

The diagram shows different influences of constructivism.
The diagram shows different influences of constructivism.



How Constructivism Impacts Learning
Curriculum--There is no standardized curriculum, but instead a curriculum that is customized.
to the students prior knowledge. Hands on learning activities are encouraged.
Instruction--Teachers facilitate an understanding between facts and a new understating in their students. Students are encouraged to think and interpret on their own. The teacher is to ask more open-ended questions to further the thinking of their students.
Assessment--Eliminates grades or standardized testing. As part of the learning process, students are to judge their own progress.

People Involved in Constructivism
Jean Piaget- Learned that minds are actively engaged in mental activities as they are exposed to new informations.
Lev Vygotsky- Learners not only use their mind actively, they use language and personaly interaction to develop learning.

To see more information on these two theorist, click below.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/94974/piaget_vs_vygotsky_the_cognitive_development.html

John Dewey- Experience is the foundation of learning.

Information found at Funderstanding.