Working with Others

Active Learning

Royal Roads & Social Constructivism

Royal Road's Educational learning and teaching model is grounded in a social constructivist learning model, with key components such as team learning, experiential and practical real world learning, and student-centered curriculum. Team Based Learning is a component, that requires you to learn from interacting and collaborating with team members, faculty, staff and community.

What is Social Constructivism Learning?

Social constructivism emphasis is on the collaborative nature of learning and the importance of cultural and social context. Lev Vygotsky (1934) developed Social Constructivism Theory and emphasized the role of language and culture in cognitive development and in how we perceive the world and develop frameworks through which we experience, communication and understand reality.

Vygotsky believed that theorists such as Piaget overlooked the essential social nature of language and subsequently failed to see that learning is a collaborative process. Vygotsky states that all cognitive functions originate in, and are explained as products of social interactions. Learning is more than the assimilation of new knowledge by learners; it is the process that learners are integrated into a knowledge community.

In the 1980’s Vygotsky and Dewey’s research and Piaget's work in developmental psychology blended into the broad approach of constructivism. The basic tenet of constructivism is that students learn by doing rather than observing. Students bring prior knowledge into a learning situation in which they must critique and re-evaluate their understanding of it. This process of interpretation, articulation, and re-evaluation is repeated until they can demonstrate their comprehension of the subject.

Zone of Proximal Development

Vygotsky believed that learning takes place within the Zone of Proximal Development. In this place, students can, with help from others who are more advanced, master concepts or ideas they could not understand on their own. This relates to teams at RRU, as you are constantly learning from others, and at times you are able to learn and gain deeper understanding from those that may have more experience or understanding.

The Zone of Proximal Development

Image retrieved from Cuppa Cocoa

The model has two developmental ideas:

  1. The level of actual development- the point the learner has already reached and can problem-solve independently.
  2. The level of potential development- the point the learner is capable of reaching under the guidance of teachers or in collaboration with peers or team.

The Zone of Proximal Development is the level where learning takes place. It comprises cognitive structures that are still in the process of maturing, but which can only mature under the guidance of or in collaboration with others.

Resources:

Education Theory, Open Education Resources of UCD Teaching and Learning

Education Theory: Zone of Proximal, Open Education Resources of UCD Teaching and Learning, May, 2017of UCD Teaching and Learning, University College Dublin