Learning Theories


Learning Theories
Create an infographic of Constructivism. Include dates, key researchers and connections to teaching and learning. Discuss implication of constructivism for instructional design.

Brief of discussion exercise

Review the learning scenario that applies to behaviorism and add to it additional learning objective(s) in which constructivism is the primary learning theory that drives the activity. Don’t use something experienced firsthand, but instead apply the theory to create additional learning that complements or adds to your initial behaviorist scenario. Constructivism is focused on learners taking an active role in learning and developing new knowledge related to their existing knowledge, often through collaboration.

Additionally, describe specifically what you believe would be the skills in the Zone of Proximal Development (based on the learners in your scenario).

Finally, discuss at least one scaffolding strategy and one social constructivist strategy you could use to help learners take an active role in constructing their own knowledge.


A group of 3rd-year French undergraduate students is having a lesson on graduate recruitment.  They have been asked to complete a pre-lesson research task looking at the methods that companies like Google, PWC, etc. are said to use in their graduate recruitment procedures.  


In the class, they will be looking at a real-life scenario of a recruitment interview where they will have been asked to imagine it is their first day in a new company.  They will have been given a sheaf of related papers and asked to respond to 4 emails, both internal and external, within a time limit.


The learning goal is to encourage students to:

·     think out of the box (French education is very behaviorist based, with rote learning, right/wrong answers),

·     promote discussion,

·     practice writing and reading skills,

·     teamwork,

·     negotiation.


Scaffolding and Zones of Proximal Development

The teaching is a facilitator in the process, with more knowledge and experience of interviewing.  Using the 5Eframework of engage, explore, explain, extend and evaluate, the teacher will guide the students through the interview process. The students as a group have the skills to do the interview but currently lack the know-how and experience to put it all together but by working together with teacher encouragement the real-life task can be achieved (ZPD). The activities are the scaffolding, which is gradually withdrawn as the students become more competent and confident.



The teacher, using social constructionist theory, asks for the students' views, with a discussion of experience from internships, summer jobs, interviewing and research.  Students reflect on what recruiters might be looking for and what they hope this type of test will show.



As a group, the class work through the recruitment interview task.

·       4 emails – with 4 possible pre-written answers. Some are more ‘right’ than others.

·       Students start by giving their first impression of emails, and which answer appears to be appropriate.

·       They examen the other documents.

·       They give their updated answers, having looked at the other documents.

·       The teacher checks their understanding – students elaborate on why they have chosen the answer they have and if it has changed.

·       The teacher gives the “official answers” – and asks for their thoughts.



In pairs – students work through 10 emails, negotiating what they believe to be the best and worst answers. This activity works well in breakout rooms in a distance teaching situation.  Students should answer as many emails as they can in the time available. Then come back to the group to compare and discuss which answers they have chosen and why.

Overview of Constructivism, Polly Watt, created on Canva
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