Spiro, R. J., & DeSchryver, M. Constructivism: When it’s the wrong idea and when it’s the only idea. S. Tobias & T. Duffy (Eds.)(2009)
The 2009 journal article co-authored by Spiro and DeSchryver offers a balanced, well-supported review of the argument that “the success of direct instructional guidance approaches in well-structured domains (WSDs) cannot extend to ill-structured domains (ISDs), in principle because of the the very nature of those domains.” The authors begin by defining and explaining the nature of ISDs citing examples including Social Studies, Humanities and the Arts then contrasting and drawing references to WSDs such as Science and Mathematics and close with compelling arguments on how a constructivist view has better application to learning in a web-enabled, web centric learning environment with better opportunity for deep and fast learning.
The authors clarification about how Professional domains can still be ill structured such as teaching where a prospective teacher can take a dozen course on “methods” but one in the field it becomes clear that “It’s not that simple”,”it depends” have direct and particularly meaningful applications to learning in a professional/business environment where rigid instructional structures are not necessarily the best fit for adult learners who may reasonably expect to be able to apply some of their acquired experience and knowledge in certain learning scenarios.
The article is particularly useful as I begin to develop depth and breadth in my fundamental research position in the field of Education Technology. Large concepts such as Deep Learning, New Gutenberg Revolution, WSDs and ISDs are helpful tools in helping me understand and communicate effectively in this domain. The Random-Access paradigm of information access seems to hold particular value as we look at how to better organize and make online training and learning system better and more relevant for today’s increasing web-ready, web-savvy, social network learners.