Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

An Approach to Learning by Construction

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

An Approach to Learning by Construction

Article excerpt


This paper proposes an innovative idea for providing affordable, sustainable, and meaningful education for students in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The authors show how a Digital Learning Environment (DLE) can play a central role in community development. The authors develop and validate an approach for introduction of an ICT education program for Higher Order Cognitive Skills (HOCS) improvement, building capacity and infrastructure in a LDC using the DLE tool. The proposed "Learning by construction" approach, as a mechanism for the effective integration of ICT in the educational process following Bloom's Taxonomy as a general framework for learning using the DLE is described. It combines sound educational approaches such as cognitive apprenticeship and situated learning with industrial design models to create an interdisciplinary solution that potentially results in job creators, not job seekers. Since there are many infrastructure-deprived educational institutions, financially struggling students, especially in LDCs, the proposed approach is a viable way to provide systematic training in HOCS and Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes for these students. The authors discuss how education itself also plays a role in the introduction of DLE. The overall learning system has not yet been extensively validated by data since there is no learning environment working accordingly. The validity of this approach and its soundness is discussed by describing an introduction plan.


Higher Order Cognitive Skills (HOCS) are interpreted as the capability for making connections, analysis and decisions based on the students' understanding and conceptualization beyond knowledge per se (Lubezki er al., 2004). The importance of HOCS improvement is acknowledged by academia and industry (Bagarukayo and Mbarika, 2008). However the current traditional methods have been criticized for failing to impart these skills to graduates. There is also need for capacity and infrastructure building especially in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) (Weide & Flipsen, 2010). One of the biggest problems in LDCs is unemployment; a big percentage of the graduates from the university are job seekers who cannot find jobs. These graduates have the potential to be job creators, and to introduce new technology and opportunities in their countries. Therefore an educational approach that promotes job creation is preferred.

The importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in LDCs cannot be overstated, especially to aid students' learning of HOCS improvement and solving of the digital divide issue. The mobile phone has been successful in alleviating the digital divide problem in LDCs. People in LDCs can now access information at any time at a low cost. The authors therefore believe that an ICT education program introduced based on a proper design can be successful. For example, introduction of low cost computers that can stand hard conditions in LDCs can solve the building capacity and infrastructure problem. The authors propose a solution for building capacity and infrastructure in the LDCs that also improves graduates' HOCS needed for the real world work environment. An approach for the introduction of an ICT education using low cost initiatives is proposed.

In regards to infrastructure development, one of the challenges is the PC assembler who assembles a computer with off the shelf parts and comes to solve problems if it malfunctions (Pal eí al., 2009). The approach strives at HOCS improvement and infrastructure set up by a PC assembler at the institution to design low cost computers for hard environmental conditions. In this paper, an approach for introducing an ICT education program in LDCs for HOCS improvement, building capacity and infrastructure is proposed. The authors answer the research question 'what approach is used to introduce ICT education program to improve HOCS, build capacity and infrastructure in a LDC using the DLE tool? …

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