Constructivism is an educational theory that holds that individuals or learners do not obtain knowledge and understanding by passively perceiving it through a direct process of knowledge transmission, but rather through experience and social discourse, incorporating new information with what they already know (prior knowledge). This includes knowledge acquired prior to starting school for children. It is associated with a variety of philosophical positions, most notably epistemology, but also ontology, politics, and ethics. The theory’s origins are also linked to the theory of cognitive development developed by Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget.
There are many specific factors and fundamentals of constructivism that influence the way the theory works and appears to apply to students.
Knowledge is created. This is the fundamental principle, which states that knowledge is based upon other knowledge. Students take pieces and assemble them in their own unique way, creating something that is unlike what another student will create. Previous knowledge, experiences, beliefs, and insights of the student are all important foundations for their future learning.
As they learn, people learn how to learn. Learning entails the construction of meaning and meaning systems. For instance, if a student is having to learn the chronology of dates for a collection of historical events, they are also learning the definition of chronology. When a student writes a history paper, they are also learning grammar and writing principles. Every new thing we learn helps us understand other things in the future.