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Beyond active learning: a constructivist approach to learning

Susan E. Cooperstein (User Education Librarian, Loyola/Notre Dame Library, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Elizabeth Kocevar‐Weidinger (Instruction Librarian, Longwood University Library, Farmville, Virginia, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



Guided by four principles – learners construct their own meaning; new learning builds on prior knowledge; learning is enhanced by social interaction; and learning develops through “authentic” tasks – constructivist learning moves from experience to knowledge and not the other way around. In a constructivist classroom, the activities lead to the concepts; the students construct the meanings. Learning happens! Abstract concepts become meaningful, transferable, and retained because they are attached to the performance of a concrete activity. This article discusses the elements of constructive learning and describes ways to apply those elements to library instruction to create truly “active” learning. An appendix contains sample exercises.



Cooperstein, S.E. and Kocevar‐Weidinger, E. (2004), "Beyond active learning: a constructivist approach to learning", Reference Services Review, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 141-148.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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