Learning Theories for Post Compulsory Education

Learning Theories for Post Compulsory Education


Assessment 1

Provide a summary of the two theories that you have chosen, and discuss why they are relevant in your teaching context.

The two theories chosen are the two main strands of constructivism, being cognitive constructivism and social constructivism. At the core, constructivism theorises that we construct our own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences; whilst social constructivism is a variety of cognitive constructivism that emphasizes the collaborative and social nature of learning.

Cognitive constructivism follows the fundamental principle that learners learn by doing rather than observing. Learners bring prior knowledge in which they must critique and revaluate their understanding of it. Cognitive constructivism was first theorised by Jean Piaget and has two main components – an “ages and stages” component that predicts what children can and cannot understand at difference ages; and a theory of development that describes how children develop cognitive abilities. Piaget theorised that we cannot simply be given information which we immediately understand and use. Instead we must construct our own knowledge. We build our knowledge through experience. Experience enables us to create schemas or mental models which are then changed and enlarged through assimilation and accommodation. Piaget rejected the idea that learning was the passive assimilation of given knowledge. Instead, he proposed that learning is a dynamic process comprising successive stages of adaption to reality during which learners actively construct knowledge by creating and testing their own theories of the world.

Social constructivism founded by Vygotsky, relies on a collaborative and social learning environment. The first principle of the theory relies on the presence of another person who has a better understanding or higher ability level than the learner with respect to a particular task,...

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