Social constructivism

Social constructivism is a sociological theory of knowledge according to which human development is socially situated and knowledge is constructed through interaction with others.[1]

Social constructionism

Like social constructionism, social constructivism states that people work together to construct artifacts. While social constructionism focuses on the artifacts that are created through the social interactions of a group, social constructivism focuses on an individual's learning that takes place because of his or her interactions in a group.

A very simple example is an object like a cup. The object can be used for many things, but its shape does suggest some 'knowledge' about carrying liquids (see also Affordance). A more complex example is an online course—not only do the 'shapes' of the software tools indicate certain things about the way online courses should work, but the activities and texts produced within the group as a whole will help shape how each person behaves within that group. A person's cognitive development will also be influenced by the culture that he or she is involved in, such as the language, history and social context.

For a philosophical account of one possible social-constructionist ontology, see the 'Criticism' section of Representative realism.[2]