Lowenthal, P., & Muth, R. (2008). Constructivism. In E. F. Provenzo, Jr. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the social and cultural foundations of education (pp. 177-179). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


In education, constructivism refers to theories of knowledge and learning. These theories state that knowledge is constructed rather than received from an objective world or external reality. For example, knowledge does not exist in a book but rather is produced by the reader in the process of reading. In day-to-day practice, however, constructivism is much more complicated; philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, scientists, and educators approach and understand this “simple” theory of knowledge/learning quite differently. Thus, constructivism perhaps is understood best as an academic construct or metaphor that describes many different ways of thinking about learning and knowledge acquisition, as summarized in this entry.

Keywords: Constructivism, Learning Theory, Discovery Learning, Epistemology