Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 5–14

Objectivism versus constructivism: Do we need a new philosophical paradigm?

  • David H. Jonassen


Many scholars in the instructional systems field have addressed the paradigm shift in the field of learning psychology and its implications for instructional systems technology (IST). This article analyzes the philosophical assumptions underlying IST and its behavioral and cognitive foundations, each of which is primarily objectivistic, which means that knowing and learning are processes for representing and mirroring reality. The philosophical assumptions of objectivism are then contrasted with constructivism, which holds that knowing is a process of actively interpreting and constructing individual knowledge representations. The implications of constructivism for IST provide a context for asking the reader to consider to what extent our field should consider this philosophical paradigm shift.


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Copyright information

© the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Jonassen
    • 1
  1. 1.the University of ColoradoUSA

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