Constructivism in Practice: A Comparison and Contrast of Apprenticeship and Constructionist Learning Environments

Kenneth E. Hay, Sasha A. Barab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This article compares and contrasts 2 summer camps. Future Camp 97 is based on assumptions consistent with constructionism and Scientists Apprentice Camp 97 consistent with legitimate peripheral participation. These 2 learning environments create an opportunity to do an empirical, as opposed to a strictly theoretical, comparison of what has been frequently lumped under the term constructivism. The goal of this article is twofold: First, to move the discourse away from comparing constructivist learning environments solely to traditional learning environments. The 2nd goal is to move away from talking of a single constructivist learning environment, and instead to explore the nuances of learning environments based on different theoretical assumptions. Toward these ends, we analyze 2 summer camps in terms of theoretical assumptions, community and groups, participant roles, practices, and other evidence of learning. We conclude with a discussion of similarities and distinctions between these 2 learning environments, highlighting issues of ownership, authenticity, power, and task structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-322
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of the Learning Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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