Discoverylearning, which is considered a constructivist-based approach, is a form oflearning that does not take place through passive instruction or lectures butfrom active hands-on participation in the learning process (Dewey, 1916/1997;Piaget, 1954,1973). Students are encouraged to think, ask questions,hypothesize, collaborate, and use what they know to reach their own conclusion.The instructor serves as a facilitator who gives minimal guidance and providesbasic information. There are three major qualities for discovery learning(Bicknell-Holmes & Hoffman ,2000). The first one is exploration and problemsolving, where the learner generates and acquires knowledge actively ratherthan passively receiving lectures and drills.
The students are encouraged to beindependent learners by thinking critically, creating, problem-solving, takingrisks, probing, seeking new information and discovering solutions. This shiftfrom a teacher centered classroom to a student-centered classroom is hard forsome teachers to adopt or accept (Hooks, 1994). A second characteristic ofdiscovery learning is that the activities are done according to the students’pace and interest. The student learns at his own rate and sequence and istherefore held accountable for his/her learning. And because it is based onstudents’ interest, it promotes motivation for learning.
In order for the studentsto learn, the material must interesting and connected to the real world (Dewey,1913). A third majorcharacteristic of discovery learning is that it relies on students’prerequisites in order to build new knowledge (Bicknell-Holmes , 2000). Learners correlate between what they already know with the newinformation they learn to make sense and meaning to the material and to reachtheir own conclusions.
Roblyer,Edwards, and Havriluk (1997) claimed that learning is best when students haveprior knowledge to build on, and when they discover information on their own.