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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Constructivism and E-learning: Complexity, Possibilities and limitations

Dr Bakhtiar Shabani.

E-learning is generally defined as instruction and learning experiences that are delivered via electronic technology. Nowadays, Pressey's mechanical device and the mechanical teaching machines of Skinner's day, which have been provoked behaviorism, replaced by multimedia, computer and web base learning. The new version able to be used based on the principles of the cognitive theories. Therefore in terms of this ability and the growth of E-learning, Greater numbers of individuals access to more learning opportunities. Still, questions about who benefits and who is left out remain. Indeed, to embrace of the E-learning is uncritically, and in the rush to E-learning, the emphasis has been largely on the E and not the learning. Knowledge about how the human learn has been largely ignored. So at this article the Strengths, weaknesses, and applicability of different e-learning offerings will be examined. The works of Dewey, Piaget, Bruner, and Vygotsky among others provide historical precedents for constructivist learning theory. As a preliminary result, Constructivism represents a paradigm shift from education based on behaviorism to education based on cognitive theory. Four epistemological assumptions are at the heart of what we refer to as constructivist learning (1) Knowledge is physically constructed by learners who are involved in active learning. (2)Knowledge is symbolically constructed by learners who are making their own representations of action. (3)Knowledge is socially constructed by learners who convey their meaning making to others. (4)Knowledge is theoretically constructed by learners who try to explain things they don't completely understand. Based on the assumption we are proposing a new approach for planning using a "Constructivist Learning Design" that focuses on the development of situations as a way of thinking about the constructive activities of the learner rather than the demonstrative behaviour of the teacher.


Dr Bakhtiar Shabani  (Iran (Islamic Republic of))
Associate Professor
Department of Education
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

Dr. Bakhtiar Shabani Varaki
Associate Professor of Education
Facualy of Education and Psychology
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

Before coming to OISE/UT,as a Visiting Scholar, Dr. Bakhtiar Shabani Varaki was Dean of Faculty of Education and Psychology, ferdowsi University of Mashhad, the capital city of the Khorasan province of the I. R.of Iran. His main,and current research interests focus on the philosophy of education, methodology and research and teaching methods. He is a member of the International Network of Philosophers of Education .
He has published several books and articles including: Teaching – learning approaches, (2000), and co- author of Philsophy of education , 2002. He also presented papers on scholarly conferences including: Co- presenter of the National conference of reformation of educational system in iran , May 2002. and the Ninth International learning conferece of education , Beijing , China , 16 – 20 July 2002 ( . Currently He is here at the Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education as a Visiting Scholar, and engaged with his project concerning Methodological Fallacies in Educational Research.
Dr. Bakhtiar Shabani Varaki /

  • Constructivism
  • E-learning
  • Teaching strategy
Person as Subject
  • Dewey Piaget Bruner Vygotsky

(30 min Conference Paper, English)