Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Failure of Constructivism

When you title a paper like this, you're bound to attract some attention in educational circles: Why Minimally Guided Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching. From the abstract:
"Evidence for the superiority of guided instruction is explained in the context of our knowledge of human cognitive architecture, expert-novice differences, and cognitive load. While unguided or minimally-guided instructional approaches are very popular and intuitively appealing, the point is made that these approaches ignore both the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture and evidence from empirical studies over the past half century that consistently indicate that minimally-guided instruction is less effective and less efficient than instructional approaches that place a strong emphasis on guidance of the student learning process."
It provides some really good food for thought, and the authors support their positions well. After the first quick read, I thought it introduced sufficient doubt about the effectiveness of these approaches. I suspect they're measuring "success" differently (and in different areas) than I might, and probably haven't gone far enough in assessing the difficulty of properly implementing these approaches in educational systems built on an industrial model...but I'm going to have to let it linger a bit.

Thanks to Evan for the tip.


evan said...

well, if that isn't motivation to update my web page, nothing is...

Jeremy said...

(sheepish grin)
Ooops, should I change the link to your page?

evan said...

no, not necessarily. Pretty silly to point someone to shells of defunct sites. I at least needed to update that I wasn't working with a particular department anymore :)

Jeremy said...

I couldn't find your new site! And the defunct shell I linked to is still neat, if not right up to date.
: )

But I'll link anywhere you want -- which html page represents you better?