Herrington, J., & Standen, P. (2000). Moving from an instructivist to a constructivist multimedia learning environment. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 9(3), 195-205.  Retrieved from


 In this article, Herrington and Standen follow characteristics of a multimedia project based from a behaviourist model to a constructivist based program.  The authors describe an original multimedia program and then the changes made to its approach.  The underlying approach was one of transmission, made interesting by features like “graphics, animations, and interactive exercises.”  The main problem associated with the original program was that students without work experience could not make real life connections and that students showed no increase in motivation to work through the steps provided to understand the material.   

In the following sections, Herrington and Standen highlight the adopted changes to develop a constructivist learning environment.  They acknowledge that situated learning has to be maintained.  From their research, they contended with Herrington and Oliver’s list of nine critical criteria to guide them in their quest to provide a constructivist base to the business course.  They are listed as follows: 

1.                  An authentic context that reflects the way knowledge will be used in real life.

2.                  Authentic activities.

3.                  Access to expert performances and the modeling of processes.

4.                  Multiple roles and perspectives.

5.                  Reflection.

6.                  Collaborative construction of knowledge.

7.                  Articulation.

8.                  Coaching and scaffolding.

9.                  Authentic assessment. 

Herrington and Standen admit that a constructivist style of multimedia is not as simple to create, but there are many advantages.  They provide three in particular: 

1.                  Relevance of theory to application.

2.                  Learning of theory is driven by the need to use it.

3.                  Field experiences are closer to professional realities. 

Detailed characteristics of the program are then described in the article for easier comprehension for readers.  Results are then summarized in the final paragraphs of the paper.  In the modified program, they found: 

·        Tasks to be global, complex, and sustained

·        An authentic learning context of the tasks

·        The new program encouraged students to explore the environment

·        Students had to select relevant data from a wealth of sources

·        Students were required to reflect on progress

·        Collaborative student effort

·        Integrated, authentic, and inseparable assessment

·        Teacher was able to support new learning environment with coaching and scaffolding at appropriate times 

I often find it difficult to distinguish at times between activities in programs that support various learning theories.  In this course, we have discussed the range within some theories.  I have tried to be cognizant of some of these approaches when developing web quests, for example.  However, I will still struggle at times to achieve and maintain a constructivist approach to learning activities.

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