Meeting the need for relevance and quality learning: A case in using the constructivist learning approach

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
ISBN
0 908557 54 X
Abstract 

Efforts to improve students’ learning outcomes have suggested the need for the use of the constructivist learning approach. This paper discusses experiences in designing and implementing a constructivist learning unit. Focusing on ecologically unsound agricultural practices, the unit involved video documentaries that asked students to identify and recommend solutions to the environmental problems caused by the practices. Comments gathered from the students and the teacher showed that the unit immersed students in actual situations, enabled them to generate their own ideas, promoted integration of knowledge in different domains, interesting, fostered teamwork, promoted independence in learning, and promoted development of communication and problem-solving skills. Problems, however, that may have affected students’ success were encountered. These included their lack of knowledge in the domain and exposure to ill-structured problems, poor participation of some students, lack of information resources, heavy load imposed by the tasks, and teacher’s difficulty understanding his role. Despite these problems, however, evidence showed that the constructivist learning unit enriched students’ understanding of the topic and promoted skills development.

Key terms: learning outcomes, constructivist learning, ecological problems

Meeting the need for relevance and quality learning: A case in using the constructivist learning approach

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Gravoso, R.