Instructional Development Timeline
Constructivist Theory
Constructivist Theory




Assisted (Scaffolding)


Jerome Brunner (1966)

David Ausubel (1968)

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky


Teaching methods in which students are encouraged to discover principles for themselves.

Teaching method in which the teacher structures the learning situation to select materials that are appropriate for students and then presents them in well-organized lessons that progress from generic to specific details.

Teacher guides instruction, so that students will master and internalize the skills that permit higher cognitive functioning.


  • Top-down: start with complex problem and work out or discover basic skills to solve
  • Cooperative learning
  • Experimentation
  • Open-ended problems
  • Learn on own through active involvement with concepts and principles


  • Teacher structures learning situation
  • Expository teaching
  • Students actively involved in learning process
  • Use of prior knowledge for new learning
  • Knowledge continually changes once “inside” the learner’s minds


Individuals construct knowledge by working to solve realistic problems, usually in collaboration with others.

Learning as a change in meaning constructed from experience.

Individual interpretation of experience vs. objective representation (information processing perspective)


Applications for Instruction

1.     Encourage independence in early school career

2.     Encourage students to solve problems on own or in groups

3.     Learning should be flexible and exploratory

4.     Arouse children’s curiosity

5.     Minimize risk of failure

6.     Relevant learning

7.     Return to important concepts

1.     Incoming information must be integrated into what students already know

2.     Teachers should use a deductive teaching approach

3.     Organize instruction beforehand: general concepts first then move to inclusive details

4.     plan brief class discussions before new material is presented so students can share important background information

1.     Pose "good" problems - realistically complex and personally meaningful.

2.     Create group learning activities.

3.     Model and guide the knowledge construction process.


  "Chapter 2 Theory into Application." Instructional Technology for Teaching and Learning: Designing

Instruction, Integrating Computers, and Using Media. Unknown: Prentice Hall, 1996. 25-43.


Funderstanding. 13 Sept. 2001 <>.

Learning with Software - Pedagogies and Practice. Open Learning Technology Corporation Ltd (OLTC).

  13 Sept. 2001 <>.