On Cognitive and Social Constructivism

by Guillermo Bautista Jr.

There are two types of constructivism. The first one is cognitive constructivism proposed by Jean Piaget. According to Piaget, learners construct their own knowledge based on the information given to them. Learners use this information to create schemas about the world.

The second one is social constructivism proposed by Lev Vygotsky. According to Vygotsky, learners learn from social interaction. Vygotsky argues that the child’s cultural development starts from the social level, and then later on the cognitive level.

In my personal opinion, these two types of constructivism are true and are used at different points in life of a learner. I believe that you cannot totally separate them. You use a combination of cognitive and social aspects of your life to learn; however, only using one of them more at different points in your life.

I think that at an early stage of childhood, learning is developed mainly using social constructivism. Children learn language through interaction with adults such as parents, classmates, and teachers. As the learners mature, after having developed enough schemas to learn on their own, learning begins to shift to cognitive constructivism. They begin to process new information based on their set of schema and learn to assimilate and accommodate new concepts. During the adult life, cognitive constructivism is used more than social constructivism.

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