Constructivism considers a range of different theories about learning, which looks at a person’s active involvement in that particular learning. It is said that the theories are based upon the principle that learning is most effective when a session is active, interactive and authentic (Newmann, 1994). The key aspect that defrenciates this from behaviourism is the idea that knowledge gets built up by the learner as a result of involvement (Sewell, 2002).
Social Constructivism considers the importance on how social encounters, can develop understanding. This is particularly key when young learners are in the presence of an adult or experienced teacher, whilst relying on them to talk through their ideas (Atherton, 2003b). The approach is a more multidimensional style, and it looks at integrating teams or groups to complete a challenge rather than individuals doing it by themselves (Light, 2008).
Cognitive Constructivism looks at the idea of learners understanding things in terms of developmental stages and through learning styles. It looks at key maturation growth where learning effectively ‘takes off.’ This then allows the learner to move develop new capabilities (Atherton, 2003b). The study by Piaget focused on children, and he argued that children actively processed the material presented to them through accommodation. Which meant he was keen to show that prior knowledge to a task played a massive effect on learning (Duncombe and Armour, 2004).
I feel that constructivist approaches are good as it allows the athletes creativity to take over, and for them to learn by doing rather than being told what to do. From a constructivist perspective, learning is said to be most effective when certain characteristics are implemented (Newmann, 1994). A few examples of this could be, active engagement, groups work, frequent interaction and feedback (Foreman et al, 2004). In my opinion, the best form of learning is to make sessions feel real and allow individuals to explore. However, there are some limitations with constructivism. As a concept it is very one dimensional and relies on the leaners to take responsibility on their own development. This may mean that certain students would struggle to relate and be engaged as this might not be the way they learn best. I would also argue that some coaches may not enjoying using this concept as they may be very firm believers of blocked practice being the best way to learn, when constructivism works on the learner being engaged throughout. The best approach would be achieved when there is a strong relationship between the coach and athlete, and this would allow the theory to be maximised.
As an analyst, I feel that this approach can be valuable for some athletes, who like to find their own areas of weakness and then look to put those correct in training, without a coach having to encourage them to do so. This process could be done by giving the players a laptop with footage on, and ask them to find three areas of weakness in their performance and then ask them how they would rectify this. However, some players may not be able to see what mistakes they are making and why they are, so this approach will not benefit them, in some sense it could make them not appreciate the information being given to them and this could lead to them never improving and continuing to make the same mistakes.
Atherton, J.S. (2003b) Learning and Teaching: Constructivism, http://www.dmu.ac.uk/~jamesa/learning/constructivism.htm, accessed November 2020
Duncombe, R. and Armour, K.M. (2004) Collaborative professional development learning: from theory to practice, Journal of In-service Education, 30, 141–66.
Foreman, J., Gee, J.P., Herz, J.C., Hinrichs, R., Prensky, M. and Sawyer, B. (2004) Game-based learning: how to delight and instruct in the 21st century, EDUCAUSE Review, 39, 50–66.
Light, R. (2008). Complex learning theory in physical education: An examination of its epistemology and assumptions about how we learn. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27, 21-37.
Newmann, F. (1994). School-wide professional community. Madison, WI: Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Sewell, A. (2002). Constructivism and Student Misconceptions: Why Every Teacher Needs To Know about Them. Australian Science Teachers’ Journal, 48(4). 24-28.