How the Environment Plays a Role in Learning?

Powerful Essays
IntroductionDuring the 1990s, considerable interest has been generated in the design of constructivist learning environments. The promise of these systems to leverage capabilities of technology, empower learners to pursue unique goals and needs, and re-conceptualize teaching-learning practices has sparked both provocative ideas as well as heated debate. Yet, problems in grounding designs within established theory and research are commonplace, as designers grapple with questions regarding epistemology, assumptions, and methods. Problems in implementation and practice are also commonplace, as pragmatic constraints surface and conflicting values emerge. We suggest three key issues that are likely to dominate the constructivist learning environment landscape.

Inertia and the Tyranny of Tradition: Old Dogs, New Tricks? Although as educators we espouse support for constructivist approaches to teaching and learning, we continue to rely on familiar pedagogical approaches such as lectures, worksheets, and rote learning practices. At the moment, educators perceive such approaches as more compatible with traditional expectations and methods of student assessment and better supported by existing infrastructures. Stated differently, it is easier and more efficient to maintain current practices than to promulgate approaches for which significant shifts--epistemological, technological, and cultural--are required. (Swef, 2002) In truth, few designers have acknowledged, much less successfully negotiated, the hurdles associated with transforming a highly traditional community of educational practice.

Yet, as constructivist learning environments are repurposed to fit traditional classroom practices, mismatched theoretical foundations, assumptions, or methods may result. Instructional methods or assessment practices are often added to (or taken away from) original designs to make them more compatible with classroom pragmatics and constraints. In essence, constructivist pedagogy is



References: unningham, Billie M. (2008) Using Action Research to Improve Learning and the Classroom Learning Environment. Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p1-30,Goodyear, P., Salmon, G., Spector, J. M., Steeples, C. & Tickner, S (2001) "Competences for Online Teaching: A Special Report", Educational Technology, Research & Development, Proquest Education Journals, pp 65-72Karyn Wellhousen, Ingrid Crowther (2003) Creating Effective Learning Environments. Florence, KY: Delmar Cengage Learning. Kember, David; Leung, Doris Y. P.; Ma, Rosa S. F.. (2007) Characterizing Learning Environments Capable of Nurturing Generic Capabilities in Higher Education. Research in Higher Education. Oliver, R. (1999) Exploring strategies for online teaching and learning. Distance Education, 20, 2, Proquest Education Journals, pp 240-54Swef Chiew Goh, Myint Swe Khine. (2002) Studies in Educational Learning Environments: An International Perspective. New Jersey: World Scientific Publishing Company. Zevenbergen, Robyn; Lerman, Steve. (2008) Learning Environments Using Interactive Whiteboards: New Learning Spaces or Reproduction of Old Technologies? Mathematics Education Research Journal, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p107-125

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