by George W. Gagnon, Jr. and Michelle Collay
Welcome to our homepage for constructivist
learning design. This page is a resource for teachers and students of teaching who want to apply constructivist learning theory to the design of educational experiences. Each of six elements in this design support student thinking, and combined together they represent a systematic way of organizing for contructivist learning. A
Constructivist Learning Design Form
is included at the end of this document for you to copy the single page format. See
Constructivist Learning Design
paper for a more detailed description, or see our
Constructivist Learning Design Study
for a report on our collaborative research with teachers.
Learning Design Outline
1. Situation (you arrange for the students to explain.)
(of students and materials.)
(between what students know and what they might learn.)
(you will ask or anticipate students will ask.)
(of student explanations
for others to understand.)
(by students on their process of explanation.)
you are going to arrange for students to explain.
Title and describe this situation
as a process of solving problems, answering questions, creating metaphors,
making decisions, drawing conclusions, or setting goals.
What do you expect the students
How will students make their own
of students (A) and materials (B).
A. Groupings of students as either
whole class, individuals, or in collaborative learning teams of two, three,
four, five, or more.
B. Groupings of materials that students
are going to need to explain the situation by physically modeling, graphically
representing, numerically describing, or reflectively writing their individual
and collective experience. Outline
between what your students already know and what they might learn by explaining
Solve a simple problem.
Have a group discussion.
Play a game or simulation.
Brainstorm a list. Outline
to introduce the situation and to keep thinking going.
What question will set up a bridge
to the situation?
What questions will set up the situation
for students to explain?
What questions do you expect students
to ask, and how will you respond to encourage them to continue thinking
for themselves? Outline
students make for others of how they recorded their explanation.
Reflections: on what students were thinking while explaining the situation.
Write a description on cards and
give a verbal presentation.
Draw out a graph, a chart, or a
Act out or role play their impressions.
Construct a physical representation
Video tape, photographs, or audio
tape for display. Outline
What did students remember from
their thought process about:
Feelings in their spirit;
Images in their imagination; and
Languages in their internal dialogue.
What attitudes, skills, and concepts
did students take out the door?
What did they know before; what
did they want to know; and what did they learn?
What did they learn today that they
won't forget tomorrow? Outline
Constructivist Learning Design
Title: || Date:
For a detailed description of
our Constructivist Learning Design follow this link:
For a description of our Constructivist
Learning Design research follow this link:
Learning Design Study