Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Constructivist Approach for Digital Learning: Malaysian Schools Case Study

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Constructivist Approach for Digital Learning: Malaysian Schools Case Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

Recent research concerning classroom learning environment has focused on assessment and improvement of learning within the context of Constructivist Learning Environments (CLEs) (Aldridge, Barry, Peter, & Chung-Chih, 2000; Taylor & Cox, 1997; Taylor, Fraser, & White, 1994). A constructivist approach views knowledge as constructed by and embedded in each learner, not something "outside" a learner (Lund & Tannehill, 2010). Learning is not only an "idiosyncratic experience", but it is influenced by social and interaction process. In this study, the researcher attempted to measure the factors of CLEs that might have influenced the "communication between students" and "their learning outcomes". Measure of the factors influencing CLEs in this study was modified from the original version of the study conducted by (Taylor, Fraser, & White, 1994) to suit Malaysian students' age and maturity based on their educational level (age 8-13 years). This study provides an instrument validation for assessing students' preferences toward CLEs and identifies and measures students' perception from five different factors pre-identified from previous research.

Background of the study, ICT initiative in Malaysia school education

The concept of Information & Communication technology (ICT) comes as a part of the Malaysian Information Technology (IT) agenda that exposes all field players starting from students, teachers, administrators and parents to fully utilize IT in every aspect of education at the administrative and classroom levels. School classrooms in this program feature such technology-enablers as laptops personal computers, multimedia computer laboratories, video conferencing systems and high-speed Internet connections. This is done by providing each student with a laptop, providing teacher training to promote project based learning as well as principal training on ICT implementation and development plan.

Related literature

The below sections reviewed related literature to the conceptual framework of the study (Figure 1). Students' perceived e-learning outcomes is mediated by a complex interaction of variables which are: (a) E-Learning resources that needed to link pedagogical curriculum and learning process in the educational environment, (b) a contribution of CLEs dimensions expected to expose students' different activities and engagement in meaningful interactions, (c) possible contribution of different barriers or dilemmas towards integrating CLE such as conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political barriers, and (d) students' learning outcome which derived from students' achievements and include classroom activities and performance, academic achievement, and student understanding.

A conceptual framework of this study is based on the integration of different learning theories. Constructivism states that learning takes place in contexts, and that learners form or construct much of what they learn and understand as a function of their experiences in situation (Schunk, 2000). Individuals in an e-learning environment based on constructivist views are forced to use creative thinking to build their knowledge base (Woo, et al., 2007) for meaningful interpretation and reflection of knowledge. (Fosnot, 1996; Schunk, 2008) asserts knowledge is physically constructed by learners who are involved in active learning. This active learning and authentic tasks requires occasionally minimal guidance to enhance student learning and motivation to transfer what is learned to novel problems encountered elsewhere by reducing student cognitive load during tasks (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006). Many scholars prefer direct instructions practices in regard to constructivist-based guidance as effectiveness learning strategy (Klahr, 2005; Kolb, et al., 2007).

The constructivist paradigm views the 'context' in which learning occurs as central to the activity of learning itself, and this has proved to be a useful theory for designing and developing e-learning programs (McMahon, 2007). …

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