Learning Theory

Constructivist learning theory is based on the premise the learners construct learning new concepts and ideas based on prior knowledge and experiences. Learning is unique to the individual learner as the adapt their models of understanding by reflection on prior information.

The key is constructing prior knowledge to build on top of the next building block of knowledge. Examples of constructivism in a learning environment includes group projects, challenges, research, and problem-based learning.


On the Octalysis Framework, constructivist learning theory can be found in mainly CD3 empowerment of creativity and feedback, CD4 ownership and possession, and CD5 social influence and relatedness. Interestingly, constructive learning theory falls on both CD4 which is a pure extrinsic motivation and CD5 which is a pure intrinsic motivation. When CD4 and CD5 are tied together, it generates a powerful synergy of meshing intrinsic learning and extrinsic learning. CD3 is the glue that mesh these two core drives together into building knowledge into an intrinsic experience.

Breaking down the examples of constructivism in a learning environment with the Octalysis:

Group Projects: These types of activities rely heavy on CD5 social influence and relatedness. In game design term, this is like a group quest where they need to accomplish a task in order to accomplish the objective. So CD2 is also a strong motiving factor for the individuals. When students are able to exercise their creativity doing their projects, this is CD3 empowerment of creativity and feedback. If the students are motivated to not fail the class, it becomes a CD8 loss and avoidance motivation which is a black hat motivation.

Challenges: Challenges are different than exams because the students have the choice to enter a challenge in order to overcome and gage one's own skill level. This type of motivation is CD2 development of accomplished tied with CD4 ownership and possession. In game design terms, this is like a boss fight. Players are not forced to go into a boss fight, they willingly enter to take up the challenge. Since this is a rare event, this would be a CD6 motivation. If they fail, they may retry after a week. Students should not be afraid to fail, else they will fall into a CD8 black hat motivation. It is important to use black hat core drive for short term conversion, but even more important to rely on white hat core drives for longer term engagements.

Research: These types of activities rely heavy on CD7 unpredictability and curiosity because of find out the unknown to make it known. The motivation behind research could be of one to help their community or a select demographic to make improvements. This type of motivation is CD1 epic meaning and calling. For researchers who want to complete their research for the sake of social recognition, this would be CD2 development of accomplishment tied with CD5 social influence and relatedness. In games, players would research their games and understand all the game mechanics so that they would be accomplish their own gaming objectives whatever that might be.

Journey though how Octalysis 8-Core Drives

fits into learning theories: