Brian Rude asks a good question,
The induction model certainly makes some sense. But isn't it another name for constructivism?
I see how Brian got confused due to my oversimplified model, which conflates inductive reasoning with the inductive-like process of the learning metaphor I proposed. And, since constructivism relies heavily on inductive reasoning, Brian's conclusion is a fair take-away.
So, let me clarify. Take a look at this less over-simplified schematic.
The diagram shows how a learner converts an observation of some stimulus into a thought/memory. i.e., how the learner learns. I've re-labeled the induction process I was explaining in the previous post to a a sub-induction process and added on three primary super-processes of learning: direct memory, deductive reasoning, and inductive reasoning. (Bear in mind that this is merely a hypothetical conceptual model, what is actually happening in the brain is still largely unknown.)
The point I'm trying to get across in the model is that the observed stimulus ALWAYS gets transformed as it becomes knowledge. I could have used an alternate model and placed the sub-induction directly under the "direct memory" process and indicated that the "sub-inductive" process was subsumed in the "deductive" and "inductive" reasoning processes to get the same point across. Something like this.
I think the first diagram is conceptually clearer. The main take-away for either model is that there is no direct access into the brain.
The learning flow would go something like this: 1. learner observes stimulus, 2. learner processes stimulus via one of the super learning process, 3. learner then the sub-learning process, and 4. then the extracted "knowledge" goes into the learner's memory.
How the observation is made or how the stimulus is presented to the learner determines what super-process the learner will use. Let's look at some examples (now would be a good time to review these three posts on the nature of knowledge).
The teacher tells the learner the following fact (i.e., a verbal association): "The U.S. Constitution was written in Philadelphia." The learner learns this fact via direct memory (I couldn't think of a better name, sorry). However, the verbal statement does not merely get imprinted in the learner's memory verbatim (not that anybody seriously believes this in any event). The fact gets abstracted by the sub-induction process into the learners existing knowledge, something like this:
The knowledge is the connection.
This knowledge could have been learned other ways as well. Let's say the learner has been exposed to the following two facts: that "the U.S. Constitution was written at the constitutional convention" and that "the constitutional convention was held in Philadelphia." From these two facts, the learner can use deductive reasoning to deduce that "The U.S. Constitution was written in Philadelphia."
How about another one: learning a rule relationship. Here's the rule: "the steeper the inclined plane, the less time it takes the ball to roll down the inclined plane." This rule can be learned deductively or inductively.
In the deductive method, the teacher might start off with: “The question is, Is there a connection between how steep an inclined plane is and how long it takes a ball to roll down it?”
The teacher then tells the student the rule-relationship (the steeper the inclined plane, the less time it takes the ball to roll down the inclined plane) and then show examples using inclined planes of different angles. These examples would confirm the rule. The knowledge of the rule is processed by the learner through the deductive reasoning process and then stored via the sub-induction process. (Sorry, no fancy connection map this time.)
In the inductive method, the teacher has the learner do an experiment by rolling balls down inclined planes of different angles, measuring how long it takes each ball to roll down, and then has the learner draw a conclusion.
This way requires more skills. (In the deductive method, the learner merely compares examples with the rule. “Yup, the ball takes less time when the angle is steeper.”) For example, the learner has to change the angles, measure the times, write the measurements, compare and contrast the instances, and figure out the connection. This means the teacher would have to teach these pre-skills before learners do the experiment.
The knowledge of the rule is processed by the learner through the inductive reasoning process and then stored via the sub-induction process. However, the learner takeaway is the same, that is, the connection mapping in the learner's memory is the same.
Which finally brings us 'round to constructivism.
Stripping away all the pedagogical blather, constructivism is merely a teaching pedagogy that favors learning through inductive reasoning as the preferred pathway. Constructivists favor learning by experience or by doing. This means that the learner will be observing stimuli (examples and non-examples of something) and generating general ideas revealed by the examples and non-examples. Hey, that sounds suspiciously like inductive reasoning.
Here's what I wrote about the inductive reasoning process that learners go through when they observe a stimulus during the learning process.
Knowledge is not directly transferred into a learner, but rather knowledge is acquired indirectly through an inductive process. Specifically, knowlege is typically acquired through an "inductive reasoning" process.
That is, the learner observes stimuli (examples and non-examples); (2) performs a series of logical operations on what it observes; and (3) arrives at (induces, figures out, discovers, “gets”) a general idea revealed by the examples and nonexamples.
In contrast, direct instruction relies more heavily on deductive reasoning pathway for teaching certain forms of knowledge, such as rule relationships. Using deductive reasoning, the learner goes from general (rule) to specific (examples). In the deductive method the teacher teaches the rule statement first. Then examples and nonexamples are then presented. Then the teacher tests all examples and nonexamples to see if the learner has learned the rule.
Constructivism can be faulted for many things, but its reliance on the inductive reasoning pathway of learning is not one of them. That is a perfectly valid pathway which proponents of direct instruction use (such as for teaching sensory/basic concepts). Constructivism's faults lie elsewhere -- over-reliance on the induction method of teaching and generally a failure to attend to the important minutiae of teaching for determining whether the learner has learned the intended knowledge and is retaining it. The latter is a self-imposed error based on ideology because constructivism makes it more difficult to get the minutiae right.