(J. Bruner) Overview: A major theme in the theoretical framework of Bruner is that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upontheir current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. Cognitive structure (i.e., schema,mental models) provides meaning and organization to experiences and allows the individual to "go beyond the information given". As far as instruction is concerned, the instructor should try andencourage students to discover principles by themselves. The instructor and student should engage in an active dialog (i.e., socratic learning). The task of the instructor is to translate information to belearned into a format appropriate to the learner's current state of understanding. Curriculum should be organized in a spiral manner so that the student continually builds upon what they have alreadylearned. Bruner (1966) states that a theory of instruction should address four major aspects: (1) predisposition towards learning, (2) the ways in which a body of knowledge can be structured so that itcan be most readily grasped by the learner, (3) the most effective sequences in which to present material, and (4) the nature and pacing of rewards and punishments. Good methods for structuringknowledge should result in simplifying, generating new propositions, and increasing the manipulation of information. In his more recent work, Bruner (1986, 1990) has expanded his theoretical framework toencompass the social and cultural aspects of learning. Scope/Application: Bruner's constructivist theory is a general framework for instruction based upon the study of cognition. Much of the theory islinked to child development research (especially Piaget ). The ideas outlined in Bruner (1960) originated from a conference focused on science and math learning. Bruner illustrated his theory in the...
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