One of the most important innovations that an educator can embrace is not a software program or particular technological tool, but rather a philosophy of teaching. In the 20th Century, the theory behind learning and the very nature of knowledge has changed several times. Learning theory has moved from Pavlovian and Skinnerian Behaviorism at the start of the 20th Century , to Cognitivism inspired by Bruner and Piaget in the 1960’s, to the Constructivist ideas of Vygotsky in the 1990’s and, most recently, to Social Constructivism (SC) with theorist such as Lave and Wenger leading the way. Under the social constructivist paradigm, social interaction is required for learning to take place. This most recent change aligns nicely with online education because of the advanced communication technology of the Internet and the prevalence of online social networks and the collaborative meaning-making tools of Web 2.0. These elements are central to both social constructivism and Web 2.0 and the delivery of online education on the Internet and the use of these technologies makes social constructivism a natural fit for virtual learning."
Dr Justin Marquis makes a case for Social Constructivism as the learning theory for today's digital age leveraging Web 2.0 social media to support the design of authentic learning experiences and collaborative meaning formation.
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