Jonassen's Model for designing CLEs
Viewing constructivism as a different perspective from objectivism on the learning
process and a complementary learning tool with objectivism, Jonassen (1999)
proposed a model for designing constructivist learning environments. Since the
epistemological belief of the constructivism that knowledge can not be transmitted,
the design puts the emphasis on providing learning experiences that facilitate
knowledge construction and in meaning making.
- Jonassesn (1999) described that the essential components in the constructivist
learning environments include:
Problem, question or project as the focus of the environment: the focus on
problem, question or project constitutes a learning goal driving the learning
process. The desired quality of this driving power is to be interesting, relevant
and authentic. Three major components need to be included in the design of
- The problem context: a description of the physical, organization, and sociocultural
context in which the problem occur should be represented to the learners.
- The problem representation or simulation: the principle of representing
the problem is to make the representation interesting, appealing and engaging.
The representation of the problem needs to be authentic to "present the
same types of cognitive challenges as those in the real world,"as well
as to be interesting and relevant to the learners so that they can engage
in solving the problems.
- The problem manipulation space: meaningful learning needs to be a mindful
activity, in which the learners are provided opportunities to manipulate objects
and interact with the environment. The problem manipulation spaces exactly
provide such opportunities. They can be the causal models for students to
test the effects of the manipulation by receiving feedback in the changes
of the physical objects or the simulation, or they can be the students' argumentation
to support their solutions to problems.
- Related Cases: Representing a set of related experience, the related
cases support learning by scaffolding student memory; providing different
perspectives, themes and interpretations, the related cases conveys the complexity
of the problem and enhance student cognitive flexibility.
- Information Resources: CLEs have to provide just-in-time information to
help learners comprehend and solve the problem.
- Cognitive Tools: Cognitive tools are computer tools that help "visualize
(represent), organize, automate, or supplant thinking skills." There
are four major types of tools differing in their functions:
- Problem/Task Representation Tools: they help learners to visualize and construct
the mental model about how the objects behave and interact.
- Static and dynamic Knowledge Modeling Tools: the tools help the learners'
to make their understanding of the problem explicit. The questions of "what
do I know" and "what does it mean" are the center of the inquiry.
- Performance Support Tools: the tools share the cognitive loads to perform
routine tasks, such as calculation and memorization.
- Information Gathering Tools: Information searching tools can be provided
to eliminate the distraction and help the students to focus on problem solving.
- Conversation and Collaborative Tools: social negotiation and interaction
are part of the learning process. Learning can facilitated through support
of discourse community, knowledge-building community and communities of learners.
- Social/Contextual Support: the implementation of the design of any learning
environment has to accommodate contextual factors to get support for its success.
In the constructivist learning environments, learners are encouraged to engage
exploration, articulation and reflection; instructors are encouraged to provide
instructional support in
- Modeling, which focuses on the expert's performance (how to do it): including
modeling the performance and the thinking processes, i.e. behavioral and cognitive
- Coaching, which focuses on the learner's performance (how am I doing): to
motivational prompts, monitor and regulate the learner's performance, provoke
reflection, and perturb learners' models
- Scaffolding, which is a systemic approach to supporting the learners in
different aspects of the learning environment (the tasks, the teacher, the
learner, the materials, the tools): based on learner's level of understanding
and need, adjust task difficulty, restructure the task and provide alternative
Reigeluth (1999) pointed out the major contribution of this model is that it
provides a coherent instructional framework integrating much work in the contructivist
Jonassen, D. H. (1999). Designing constructivist learning environments.
In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: A new
paradigm of instructional theory, Volume II, pp. 215-239). Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Reigeluth, C. M. (1999). (Ed.),A new paradigm of instructional
theory, Volume II, pp. 5-29). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.