A Constructivist Approach to Learning

I got really excited recently about this class-I was sitting and doing my second poster and I realized that I could apply one of the learning principles that I was discussing being utilized in my game to my own life. I am a study group leader for the Science Learning Center here on campus, and my group members are taking their third exam this week. Normally, I send out practice exams prior to the exam being taken and hold a review session that covers the material that was mentioned in class in a quick “mini review lecture” and then allows students to ask questions about the practice exam. Practice is helpful, as demonstrated by Gee, but I had a new idea while designing my second poster.

The game that I am playing, Final Fantasy Tactics, is frequently a game in which players “roll the game clock.” In order to accomplish this, i.e., playing for over 99 hours and 99 minutes, the players must continue to play beyond the normal storyline. To do so, online forums have arisen that have created SCC (Single Class Challenge), in which all five party members must belong to only one class during the course of the game, and SSCC (Solo Single Class Challenge), in which the player has only one party member who is the same class the entire game. As classes can be modified throughout the game and used to help in specific situations, constructing a new game requires that players take the knowledge that they learned in previous playthroughs and construct it in a new manner. This is the goal of a Constructivist Approach to Learning, to encourage players to make new connections with knowledge that they already have.

To apply this to my study group, I split my group members into groups for each lecture covered on the third exam. I asked each group to create questions based off of the material in lecture, but not just definition questions, but conceptual questions that required problem-solving skills. This required them to take the knowledge they had of the class’ information and the content and structure of practice exam questions and resynthesize them, as in the Constructivist Approach to Learning. They then played a game where each group was a separate team and had to answer other team’s questions. The gameification of review also made it more enjoyable.

Thanks to Edu 222 for making my own teaching techniques more effective (I hope!) and enjoyable!

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