Instructional Design/Constructivism

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Let's Begin[edit]

Constructivism suggests learning should occur in realistic settings using "authentic tasks." Some constructivists hold that ideally an authentic task "must contain no isolated tasks, must be [only] a real-world task, must be in context, and must involve no simplification of that context." (Merrill, in Duffy and Jonassen, Constructivism and the technology of instruction: a conversation, 1992, p.105). This lesson takes the view that it is not possible to conduct all learning under these ideal conditions. The lessons teach that authentic activities should match as nearly as possible real world contexts and be minimally "decontextualized." (Reeves, Herrington, and Oliver. 2002).

Honebein takes this approach:

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  1. Provide experience with the knowledge construction process.
  2. Provide experience in and appreciation for multiple perspectives.
  3. Embed learning in realistic and relevant contexts.
  4. Encourage ownership and voice in the learning process.
  5. Embed learning in social experience.
  6. Encourage the use of multiple modes of representation.
  7. Encourage self-awareness of the knowledge construction process.


Peter C. Honebein (1996), "Seven Goals for the Design of Constructivist Learning Environments." In B. Wilson, Constructivist Learning Environments: Case Studies in Instructional Design.

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The goal of this module is to enable you to incorporate constructivist strategies (specifically, an authentic learning experience (ALE)) into instruction. You will be given three tasks to perform.

  1. First, you will compare two sample lessons and describe how the presence or absence of constructivist methods enhance and/or detract from the learning experiences.
  2. Second, you will use provided resources to envision constructivist experiences and incorporate them into sample instruction, aligning these learning experiences with common constructivist principles, practices, and strategies.
  3. Finally, you will evaluate your own work using expert examples and an authentic learning experience quality checklist.

Before the Lessons[edit]

If you are unfamiliar with Constructivist ideas or would like a refresher, proceed to the "Pre-Lesson" linked below. It is an overview of constructivism that will provide a foundation for understanding Constructivist principles, practices and strategies. Once you have your feet firmly planted in Constructivism, give the lessons a try!

Enjoy![edit]


Click Pre-Lesson to begin.

Instructional Design: Homepage Constructivism: Introduction Pre-Lesson Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Conclusion