ERIC Number: ED407573
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Constructivism, Workplace Learning, and Vocational Education. ERIC Digest No. 181.
Constructivism suggests a way to restructure the learning environment to make the transfer of learning from school to work settings more effective. The theory rests on the notion that learners actively construct knowledge by integrating new information and experiences into what they have previously come to understand. Using a constructivist approach, teachers facilitate learning by encouraging active inquiry, guiding learners to question their tacit assumptions, and coaching them in the construction process. The concept of situated learning is embedded in constructivism. Research on how people learn in the workplace demonstrates that what is occurring is constructivist, situated learning, often through cognitive apprenticeship. The workplace has a number of strengths as a learning environment: authentic, goal-oriented activities; access to guidance; everyday engagement in problem solving; and intrinsic reinforcement. Limitations are construction of inappropriate knowledge; lack of sufficient or challenging authentic activities; and reluctance of experts to participate. Elements of constructivist, situated learning may be seen in recent vocational education developments such as tech prep, school to work, and integrated academic and vocational education. Vocational teachers should organize experiences that allow learners to develop their own knowledge and understanding in a learning environment that reproduces key aspects of communities of practice. (Contains 13 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.