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Constructivism suggests that learners construct knowledge and meaning for themselves, either alone or socially, drawing on their own experience and on scaffolding from a teacher.

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Last week, I described a learning scenario in which students were asked to identify the creators of specific artworks in a multiple-choice situation, using behaviorism as the primary learning theory. Adjusting that activity to now focus on constructivism, students will still be asked to identify the artist who created a specific work, but now instead of using multiple choice they will be collaborating in small groups to produce their answer, a social constructivist strategy that allows students to assist each other and construct their own knowledge.


The instructor will scaffold the activity by identifying a few key components for the students to explore — use of color, composition, brush technique, and so on — but it will be the students working among themselves who come up with their identification of the artist and the reasoning behind it.


The skills the students would be developing in their zone of proximal development might include identifying and differentiating between color schemes, between brush stroke technique, and between compositions; comparing and contrasting the use of these elements in different artworks; and drawing connections between artworks that share many components to identify themes and trends among a single artist’s works.

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