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Constructivist or instructivist: pedagogical concepts practically applied to a computer learning environment

McKenna, Peter and Laycock, Ben (2004) Constructivist or instructivist: pedagogical concepts practically applied to a computer learning environment. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 36 (3). pp. 166-170. ISSN 0097-8418

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Abstract

This paper discusses an innovative use of information technology in supporting the learning and teaching of sampling and quantisation within the Multimedia Computing curriculum. Three parallel on-line learning resources were developed to teach the principles of sampling to Multimedia Computing undergraduates: one highly interactive Flash artefact was developed on the basis of constructivist principles; a second drill-based html resource followed instructivist principles; and a third combined the two strategies. This paper reports the practical and conceptual exploration of what it means to take a constructivist or instructivist, or mixed approach to the design of learning software.All three resources were tested with distinctive groups of students in order to explore and contrast the relative short-term benefits of the different pedagogical approaches to learning software development. The results indicated that a combined constructivist resource offered the learner a deeper knowledge of waveform sampling; the question of longer-term retention and transferable understanding can only be answered by means of longitudinal research.

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