Communal constructivism is a pedagogic strategy conceived in the mid 1990s by Bryn Holmes and collaborators  and Leask and Younie , It merges ideas from socio-constructivism and "sharing philosophies", e.g. knowledge building and connectivism. It is a kind of what Collis and Moonen (2009)  call contribution-oriented pedagogy.
“The theme, or educational philosophy, [...] is one we call ‘communal constructivism’, by which we mean an approach to learning in which students not only construct their own knowledge (constructivism) as a result of interacting with their environment (social constructivism), but are also actively engaged in the process of constructing knowledge for their learning community. [...] What we argue for is a communal constructivism where students and teachers are not simply engaged in developing their own information but actively involved in creating knowledge that will benefit other students and teachers. In this model students will not simply pass through a course like water through a pipe but instead, river-like, leave their own imprint in the development of the course, their school or university, and ideally the discipline. This will result in a gain for the institutions or course, but more importantly the students themselves will benefit.(Holmes et al., 2001) ”
“Communal constructivism is an approach to learning in which students construct their own knowledge as a result of their experiences and interactions with others, and are afforded the opportunity to contribute this knowledge to a communal knowledge base for the benefit of existing and new learners.” (Holmes et al., 2006:86) 
“e-Learning takes the concept of ‘community of learners’ a considerable step forward by enabling less formal communities, that is, less formal than the organizational structure of business enterprises or a school or university would imply, to create a self-sustaining communal learning environment. We call this extension to the range of socio-constructivist variants ‘communal constructivism’ (Holmes et al., 2001), a process in which individuals not only learn socially but contribute their learning to the creation of a communal knowledge base for other learners. Online learning affords them the linked community, the knowledge bases, the knowledge-creation tools and the facility to provide their learning for others.” Holmes & Gardner (2006:76) 
- interaction with the environment, group members, and learning objects;
- active collaboration;
- engagement in knowledge construction;
- publishing of knowledge;
- transfer of knowledge between groups;
- dynamic and adaptive course.
- contribution-oriented pedagogy
- Community of practice
- Community of learning
- Knowledge-building community model
A river and a pipe
Holmes and Gardner (2006) use two analogies to describe their communal constructivism model: (1) Water flowing through a pipe and (b) Water flowing into a river and in a river.
“In the traditional learning model students pass through a learning programme like water flowing through a pipe, with the tutors simply determining a goal, giving its direction and applying the pressure to get there. Once through such a course, there is no trace of them having been on it. Just as a pipe cannot be enriched by water traveling through it, the course remains unaffected by the learning of the students and by the tutors learning from the students.” (Holmes and Gardner (2006:86) (Holmes et al., 2006:86) 
“In a communal constructivist learning environment, however, the students contribute to the communal knowledge in a permanent form, leaving their own imprint on the course, their school or university, and possibly the discipline – like a river enriching its flood plain each year by adding nutrients and minerals to the soils.” (Holmes et al., 2006:86) 
The picture also includes a taxonomy of e-learning tactics:
- drill and practice (D&P)
- simple non-interactive tutorials (N-I Tut)
- interactive tutorials (I-Tut)
- intelligent tutoring systems (ITS)
- Simulations (Sim)
- games (Game)
- virtual learning environments,
- multi-user variants of simulations (MuSim) and games (MuGame).
- weblogs (blog)
- multi-user object oriented systems (MOO)
- multi-editor wiki systems (wiki).
In our opinion, communal constructivism is not so much a learning theory as a pedagogic approach. Of course, it does have learning theoretical foundations. According to Holmes et al. (2001), the concept of communal constructivism draws from several sources.
- cognitive apprenticeship
- Field research on Japans' 'han' (“A han is made up of 3 or 4 students within a class and it is the responsibility of the han to make sure that all members are able to progress through the materials.”) (Holmes 2001)
- Group work and peer tutoring
- PhD work
“We argue that a diverse range of techniques can, and should, be used to enrich this type of learning environment within which the focus is on learning with and for others. Peer tutoring and project-based learning are obvious techniques but we also advocate the ideas of cognitive apprenticeship, the publishing of information, flexibility in the time table, a radical look at the way in which assessment is done, and so forth.” 
Earlier work laid the foundations for communal constructivism. For example, Salomon, G. and Perkins, D. (1998)  distinguish between learning with others and learning from others. More precisely, “[...] effective learning of any scope involves not one learning system but several functioning together in spirals of reciprocity.”, and: “Learning to learn in an expanded sense fundamentally involves learning to learn from others, learning to learn with others, learning to draw the most from cultural artifacts other than books, learning to mediate others' learning not only for their sake but for what that will teach oneself, and learning to contribute to the learning of a collective. If the reciprocal spiral described earlier has any validity, then an individual's contribution to the learning of the collective is likely to benefit the individual as well.”
Communal constructivism is also related to learning in a community of practice. According to Collis, de Boer & van der Veen (2001), , “Sfard (1998) identies two basic types of educational models: the Acquisition Model and the Participation Model. With the Acquisition Model, the focus of learning activities is on the acquisition of prespecialized knowledge and the development of pre-determined concepts. With the Participation Model, the focus of learning activities is on becoming a member of a community of practice – learning from the community but also contributing to it. With the Acquisition Model, what is to be learned is generally pre-determined. Frequently the extent to which the learner has learned is measured by a written test, often with pre-determined right answers. In contrast, with the Participation Model, the interactions that the learners contribute to may serve to change the knowledge base of the community even as they participate in it.”
Cited with footnotes
- Holmes, B., Tangney, B., FitzGibbon, A., Savage, T., & Mehan, S. (2001). Communal Constructivism: Students constructing learning for as well as with others. In J. Price, D. Willis, N. E. Davis, & J. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2001--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference. (Vol. 2001, pp. 3114–3119). AACE. Retrieved from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/17346/
- Leask, M., & Younie, S. (2001). Communal constructivist theory: information and communications technology pedagogy and internationalisation of the curriculum. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 10(1–2), 117–134. https://doi.org/10.1080/14759390100200106
- Collis, B., & Moonen, J. (2009). Contribution-oriented pedagogy. In P. Rogers, G. Berg, J. Boettcher, C. Howard, & J. L. et. al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition (pp. 439–446).
- Holmes, B., & Gardner, J. (2006). E-learning : concepts and practice. SAGE Publications.
- Week 6: Communal Constructivism – Introducing the concept, Course Page, Feb 2015. , retrieved Feb 25, 2019
- Girvan, C. & Savage, T. (2010). “Identifying an appropriate pedagogy for virtual worlds: A Communal Constructivism case study”. Computers & Education, 55(1), pp. 342–349. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2010.01.020
- Salomon, G., & Perkins, D. N. (1998). Chapter 1: Individual and Social Aspects of Learning. Review of Research in Education, 23(1), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X023001001
- Collis, B., de Boer, W., & van der Veen, J. (2001). Building on Learner Contributions: A Web-Supported Pedagogic Strategy. Educational Media International, 38(4), 229–240. https://doi.org/10.1080/09523980110105169
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Content of this article has been taken from EduTechWiki (en) or EduTechWiki (fr) at the date indicated in the history. DKS was the main founder and main contributor of EduTechWiki. If you cite this page you also must cite and credit EduTechWiki, according to the CC BY-NC-SA license. View the pageinfo-toolboxlink for this article.