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Rich environments for active learning: a definition

By R. Scott Grabinger and Joanna C. Dunlap


Rich Environments for Active Learning, or REALs, are comprehensive instructional systems that evolve from and are consistent with constructivist philosophies and theories. To embody a constructivist view of learning, REALs: promote study and investigation within authentic contexts; encourage the growth of student responsibility, initiative, decision making, and intentional learning; cultivate collaboration among students and teachers; utilize dynamic, interdisciplinary, generative learning activities that promote higher-order thinking processes to help students develop rich and complex knowledge structures; and assess student progress in content and learning-to-learn within authentic contexts using realistic tasks and performances. REALs provide learning activities that engage students in a continuous collaborative process of building and reshaping understanding as a natural consequence of their experiences and interactions within learning environments that authentically reflect the world around them. In this way, REALs are a response to educational practices that promote the development of inert knowledge, such as conventional teacher-to-student knowledge-transfer activities. In this article, we describe and organize the shared elements of REALs, including the theoretical foundations and instructional strategies to provide a common ground for discussion. We compare existing assumptions underlying education with new assumptions that promote problem-solving and higher-level thinking. Next, we examine the theoretical foundation that supports these new assumptions. Finally, we describe how REALs promote these new assumptions within a constructivist framework, defining each REAL attribute and providing supporting examples of REAL strategies in action

Topics: LC1022 - 1022.25 Computer-assisted Education
Publisher: University of Wales Press
Year: 1995
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0968776950030202
OAI identifier:

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