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Knowledge Construction

Chapter Seven
Educational Psychology: Developing Learners
6th edition
Jeanne Ellis Ormrod
Constructive Processes

Learning involves constructing ones own


knowledge from ones experiences.

Our current knowledge influences what we


learned, what we expect to learn, what we
can store, and what we can retrieve.

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Constructive Processes
Meaning of new knowledge is constructed
with prior knowledge.
It can be an independent venture (individual
constructivism) or a social process.
Different people can construct different
meanings from the same stimuli or events.
Even our memory is constructive
Reconstructive error is an error in which a
student constructs a logical but incorrect
memory.

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Social Constructivism

Socially constructed knowledge:


knowledge jointly constructed by two or
more people
Often leads to a better understanding of the
subject matter
E.g., two students working together to better
understand a homework assignment
May be constructed by an entire culture
Literature, music, fine arts

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Social Constructivism
Learners engage in distributed cognition.
Students work together to share ideas and draw
conclusions or develop solutions.

There are many positives associated with


distributed cognition, including:
Greater understanding and increased use of
elaboration
Exposure to others ideas and greater respect for
diversity
Identification of flaws and inconsistencies in thinking
Higher-level thinking
More effective interpersonal skills
Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Organizing Knowledge

Knowledge organization occurs via


concepts, schemas, scripts, and theories.

Concepts: mental grouping of similar


events, objects, ideas, or people which
consist of attributes or distinctive features
E.g., bird: feathers, beak, has a nest

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Organizing Knowledge

Concepts
Overgeneralization and undergeneralization
are common occurrences.
Overgeneralization: Including objects or events that
arent true members of the category
Undergeneralization: Too narrow a view about
which objects or events the concept includes

Concepts are interconnected.

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
The Nature of Concepts
Concepts can be learned as a feature list,
prototype, or set of examples.
Defining features: Characteristics that must
be present in all positive instances of a
concept
Prototypes: Mental representations of a
typical positive instance
Exemplars: Specific examples that are part
of a learners general knowledge and
understanding of a concept

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Teaching Concepts

Present examples and non-examples


before discussing attributes and definitions

Show a wide variety of examples to avoid


undergeneralization or overgeneralization

Have students use the concept

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Teaching Concepts

Identify concrete and observable


characteristics

Show students how various concepts are


related to one another

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Schemas & Scripts
Schema
Organized body of knowledge about a
specific topic
E.g., what is typically true about an object?

Script
Schema that involves a predictable
sequence of events related to a common
activity
E.g., what happens when you go to the doctor?
Culturally influenced

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Theories

Students already have beliefs about how


the world operates before formal schooling
begins.
Theory: Integrated set of concepts and
principles developed to explain a particular
phenomenon
Nave theories: Early and often incorrect
theory developed by a child, based on
limited knowledge and understanding

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Promoting Effective Knowledge
Construction
Provide opportunities for experimentation
Present ideas of others and encourage discussion
Emphasize conceptual understanding, knowledge
acquired in an integrated and meaningful fashion
Challenge nave theories
Be organized
Relate new information to previously learned information
Show how isolated facts are part of greater whole
Encourage peer tutoring
Use authentic activities
Activities similar to ones that students are apt to
encounter in the outside world
Create a learning community

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
What Is a Learning
Community?
Teachers and students consistently work to
help one another learn.
Students are active participants in classroom
activities.
Discussion and collaboration are necessary
parts in learning.
Diversity is respected.
Learning is emphasized more than grades.
Both students and teachers provide guidance
and direction for classroom activities.
Everyone is a potential resource.

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Conceptual Change

Teachers present new information


expecting it to replace any erroneous
beliefs.

Students will often hold on to


misconceptions even when faced with
contradictory information.

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Promoting Conceptual
Change
Teachers should:
Identify existing misconceptions before
instruction begins
Convince students that their existing
beliefs are inadequate
Motivate students to learn correct
explanations
Preserve students self-esteem and not
ridicule them for misunderstandings
Continue to monitor students for
persistent misconceptions
Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.
Considering Diversity in
Constructive Processes
Cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds
impact knowledge base.
A community of learners values diversity and
utilizes everyones individual backgrounds,
cultural perspectives, and unique abilities to
enhance the class.
Teachers can increase multicultural awareness
by:
Promoting multiple constructions of the same
situation
Being watchful of language usage

Jeanne Ellis Ormrod Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Educational Psychology: Developing Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
Learners, sixth edition All rights reserved.