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Constructivism and powerful learning environments: create your own!

Sally Ashton-Hay, School of Learning and Professional Studies, Queensland University of Technology

Abstract

Recent educational reforms have been gaining increasing attention across Europe, particularly for the creation of powerful learning environments (Buchberger, 2001; Gerjets & Hesse, 2005; Lesgold, 2004; Palincsar & Herrenkohl, 2002; Van Petegem, De Loght, & Shortridge, 2003) based on constructivist educational theory. Most of these innovations are responses to raising educational standards and creating more engaged, active learners. Powerful learning environments aim to improve the quality of learning experiences by creating more active, student-centered classrooms in schools and universities, particularly through the use of technology. The notion of 'powerful' is emphasized in contrast to 'weak' learning environments where students are mainly required to digest or memorize facts. This constitutes contrasting views of education depending on whether students are required to respond, engage and participate in their learning experiences or remain passive and inactive as in more traditional behaviorist learning situations. Such contrasting views of education are one of the reasons for the increased interest in what powerful learning environments have to offer and what they mean in terms of educational reform.

Suggested Citation

Ashton-Hay, S 2006, 'Constructivism and powerful learning environments: create your own!', paper presented to The fusion of theory and practice: 9th International English Language Teaching Convention, Ankara, Turkey, 3-5 May.

Available for download from the QUT ePrints digital repository at http://eprints.qut.edu.au/17285/