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Authentic Activity

Page history last edited by Kevin Gilchrist 13 years, 11 months ago


Principle 1: Authentic Activity


      Authenticity is a key dimension in constructivist learning environments. If learning is

indeed context dependent, as constructivism asserts, then knowledge building should take

place in situations that are more real than contrived (Dolittle, 1999). However, numerous challenges

confront practitioners seeking to make learning authentic, first among them is identifying what

“authentic” actually means. 


     Jonassen (1999) provided a three-fold characterization of authenticity.  This includes situating

learning in a real world task, ensuring that learning is personally interesting, and finally ensuring

that the thinking students undertake provides them with opportunities to think as they would, and

at the level of sophistication they are likely to encounter in the real world


     Zualkern (2006), focusing on the design of constructivist e-learning environments, added a

further cautionary note, stating that while constructivist learning environments are well suited to

facilitating the development of higher order thinking, the inherent complexity in the design of a

learning context that facilitates high level thinking, such as problem solving, is challenge enough in and of itself.


     Given the numerous web 2.0 technologies available to practitioners, how can broad constructivist theory inform the selection of web 2.0 tools? Considerations include: Is this particular web 2.0 technology of sufficient relevance to students that they would use it in the real world? Will students be engaged by this particular technology? Will students’ use of a particular web 2.0 technology cultivate their ability to think like a practitioner in the real world?


Return to Constructivism Overview

Go to Principle 2: Prior Knowledge


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