Using a Constructivist Approach to Develop Self-Learning Materials and Promote Learner Engagement for Out-Of-School Children in Sri Lanka
Addressing the issue of access to quality education is a matter of urgency, and yet the formal education system has not tended to provide education for all. For out-of school children, therefore, distance and open learning methodologies have been adopted by developing countries as an alternative path to address their educational needs. The challenge is how to bring them back to the learning process again and how to motivate and engage them for active learning. // The purpose of this study was to investigate how constructivist approach and principles support for the development of self-learning materials that promote learner engagement and motivation of out-of-school children. Utilising case study method the research was carried out. Ten course writers and ten out-of school children were selected through purposive sampling as participant and target group of this study. By conducting training program made the course writers aware of constructivist approach and assisted them to develop skills of writing learning activities embedded constructivist design principles. At the end of the training program the course writers tested the sample materials developed with a targeted group of out-of-school children. The data were collected using multiple data gathering techniques and results were presented as individual stories of the children. // The overall findings have provided conclusive evidence that constructivist approach and design principles do support the creation of active, constructive and meaningful learning and learner-motivated learning materials. The findings indicate that this type of material was practical and meaningful and students were excited when they were learning what they deemed relevant. The materials were able to engage the students in a continuing learning process and they were successful in integrating the whole environment into students’ learning, successfully providing multiple avenues and multiple resources for students’ learning processes. The study concludes with a recommendation for a paradigm shift in educating out-ofschool children – a shift from traditional instructional design methods to a constructivist approach. // Paper ID 160
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