While Constructivism is a broad field of philosophical inquiry and comprises a variety of viewpoints, the ideas of Jerome Bruner are part of the framework used across disciplines, modalities, and pedagogical approaches.
Bruner’s Constructivist approach posits that learning is an active process and that knowledge is “constructed” in the context of existing and previous knowledge (Clabaugh, 2010). This process has an element of what is often termed “discovery learning” in that students use guessing, intuition, and problem-solving to “discover” interrelationships of concepts and ideas. Bruner is also often associated with the idea of “scaffolding,” which we’ll discuss in this guide’s activities and assignments section.
Social learning theory, often associated with Albert Bandura and Jean Lave, is closely related to Constructivism in that it situates the construction of knowledge and learning in the social and environmental context in which it occurs. In essence, this is part of the idea that collaboration and social interaction need to happen for learners to become part of a “community of practice or inquiry.”
Clabaugh, G.K. (2009). Educational Theory of Jerome Bruner: A multi-dimensional Analysis (1st ed.). http://www.newfoundations.net/GALLERY/BrunerTheory.pdf (PDF, 223k).