Learning by making: A framework to revisit practices in a constructionist learning environment

María Florencia Morado, Ayelén Eva Melo, Angela Jarman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Makerspaces are collaborative workspaces where people construct their ideas using a variety of materials and tools ranging from no tech to high tech, where components can be moulded and transformed into different projects depending on each maker’s vision. Educational makerspaces allow educators to respond to the diverse interests of individual learners. This paper documents the learning of participants at an educational makerspace founded on constructionist principles. We analyse the characteristics of the Maker Movement and the features of an educational makerspace, identify learning dimensions, select a case, analyse field notes, photos and videos using an interpretivist paradigm and refine the practical framework guiding the facilitation of the case study discussed. Given that the investigators are also the facilitators of the activities, this framework allows an a posteriori analysis of the practices used to make learning visible. Practitioner notes What is already known about this topic Makerspaces promote learning in STEM, developing 21st century skills such as effective communication and problem solving. Makerspaces accommodate diverse students and their interests. Makerspaces encourage DIY practices and design thinking. What this paper adds New dimensions for analysing what has been learned in a constructionist educational makerspace. New indicators that illustrate the different dimensions of learning, which permit in-depth analysis of specific practices and promote reflection. A framework which can be applied in the analysis of learning in similar environments. Recognition that constructionist makerspaces can enhance learning in all disciplines, moving beyond the limits of STEM or STEAM. Implications for practice and/or policy New ways to plan and execute activities in an educational makerspace and any constructionist education centre. A reference for identifying and making visible learning inside educational makerspaces and any constructionist education centre. Assurance of the quality of learning developed in educational makerspaces and any constructionist education centre.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1115
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • constructionism
  • educational makerspace
  • framework
  • learning
  • learning by doing
  • mathetics
  • microworlds
  • objects-to-think-with

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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