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Cunningham (1992) stated that learners do not transfer knowledge from the
external world into their memories; rather, they create interpretations of the world based
upon their past experiences and their interactions in the world. How someone construes
the world, their existing metaphors, is at least as powerful a factor influencing what is
learned as any characteristic of that world.

Social constructivism as pioneered by theorists such as Vygotsky (1978), this

paradigm argues for the importance of culture and context in forming understanding.
Learning is not a purely internal process, nor is it a passive shaping of behaviours.
Vygotsky favoured a concept of learning as a social construct which is mediated by
language via social discourse.

Some terms which are related to social constructivism are mistaken as the same
though all of the terms believe that learning is “constructed” by learners rather than being
received from an instructor or other source. One term is social constructionism,
Vygotsky defined social constructionism as the development of phenomena relative to
social contexts while social constructivism refers to an individual's making meaning of
knowledge within a social context.

Beth Clark, Jessie Griffin, and Dana Turner (Fall, 2007) cited a practical
implication of social constructivism for further understanding:
“A group of students are given a difficult WebQuest Math problem to
work through. By using the different perspectives they have gained from
their different backgrounds, they can help each other solve the problem
more effectively that if they had worked alone.”

Moreover, Brown, Collins, & Duguid (1989) notion is that of authentic or

"situated learning", where the student takes part in activities which are directly relevant to
the application of learning and which take place within a culture similar to the applied
In a recent study of social constructivism, Jackson (2006) stated that it exists only
as an intersubjective awareness among people; in that sense the system is constituted by
ideas, not by material forces. It is a human invention or creation not of a physical or
material kind but of a purely intellectual and ideational kind. It is a set of ideas, a body of
thought, a system of norms, which has been arranged by certain people at a particular
time and place.

Shunk (2000) discussed that social constructivist approaches can include

reciprocal teaching, peer collaboration, cognitive apprenticeships, problem-based
instruction, webquests, anchored instruction and other methods that involve learning with


Beth Clark, Jessie Griffin, and Dana Turner (Fall, 2007), Social Constructivism(Sorting
Out Variations on the Terms "Constructionism" and Constructivism"), July 30, 2009,

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of
learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-41.

Cunningham, 1992, p. 36, Social Constructivism and the World Wide Web - A Paradigm
for Learning, July 30, 2009,

Jackson, 2006, chap. 6, Social constructivism, July 30, 2009,

Shunk, 2000, Social Constructivism(Social Constructivism and Instructional Models),

July 30, 2009,

Vygotsky, 1978, Social constructionism, July 30, 2009,