, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 4–5 | Cite as

Cognitive Constructivism: Revisiting Jerome Bruner’s Influence on Instructional Design Practices

  • Laura Stapleton
  • Jill StefaniakEmail author
Column: History Corner

Jerome Bruner was a key figure within cognitive psychology and has made extensive contributions in the development of instructional theory and practice. A psychologist by training, he encouraged educators to introduce problem solving and intellectual development within curriculum to learners. His works propose a cognitive constructivist approach in that learning is an active social process where new knowledge is constructed through exploration of their world, or based on prior knowledge. Within the active construction of knowledge, the teacher’s role includes setting up conditions so that students discover relationships between concepts. Thus the teacher’s role is changed from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side” where facilitation of knowledge was of most importance. His idea of a spiraled curriculum in which material is introduced to the learner and continually reinforced until mastery is achieved has influenced many new technological advances in today’s society regarding...



  1. Bruner, J. S. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bruner, J. S. (1966). Towards a theory of instruction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hurst, M. (2016). Jerome Bruner’s theory of development: Discovery learning & representation. Retrieved from: Accessed 20 Feb
  4. McLeod, S. (2012). Simply psychology – Bruner. Retrieved from Accessed 25 Feb 2018
  5. McLeod, S. (2015). Jerome Bruner and the process of education. Retrieved from: Accessed 20 Feb
  6. Richey, R. C., Klein, J. D., & Tracey, M. W. (2011). The instructional design knowledge base: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Vgotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations