Learning through making things

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … competencies to make
  • Knowing is … personal sense (derived from individual experience)
  • Learner is … a maker (individual in action)
  • Learning is … construing (through making)
  • Teaching is … coaching, supporting




Constructionism is focused on the learning that happens through being immersed in making physical objects. Such learning is seen as participatory and situated, and it involves connecting and integrating different ideas. (Note: In some subdomains of education, Constructionism is used synonymously with Social Constructivism and/or Social Constructionism.) Associated discourses include:
  • Educational Robotics (1970s) – the activity of programming robots using software provided for the purpose. Some kits for Educational Robotics include prebuilt robots, others require assembly, and some comprise components that enable users to create custom robots. Regarding educational intentions, Educational Robotics are typical used as either the focus for courses in computer programming (computational thinking) or as devices to study concepts in other disciplines (esp. mathematics and physics).
See also Syntonic Learning.


Constructionism has been interpreted as Discovery Learning and Experiential Learning. These interpretations are more in line with the Attainment Metaphor and the Construction Metaphor.

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

Seymour Papert

Status as a Theory of Learning

Constructionism is a not theory of learning, although it is attentive to its orienting metaphors.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

Constructionism is a theory of teaching. It offers advice and describes conditions to support learning in ways that are resonant Problem-Based Learning and related theories.

Status as a Scientific Theory

With ties to Embodiment Discourses, Constructionism is associated with a significant base of empirical evidence.


  • Educational Robotics

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2022). “Constructionism” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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