Seymour Papert's constructionist theory has played a key role in learning efforts. What can change managers learn from him?

Seymour Papert is best known as a leading figure in constructionist learning. Constructionism describes the way that students learn by working with concrete materials rather than abstract concepts. The best known examples of this are the logo programming language and LEGO Mindstorms. 

Here are 5 lessons that change managers can learn from Papert's constructionist thinking:

Lesson 1: Learning needs to be an active process

Change management programs need to put the learner front and center in order to actually achieve something. Learners cannot simply read, listen to or watch content and be expected to really learn from it. They need to be actively involved in the learning process.

Lesson 2: Learners need their minds to be engaged

In order to ensure learning does happen, change management programs need to be set at the right level. They should be difficult enough to keep the learner engaged and thinking critically, but not too difficult that they become despondent and detached from the experience.

Lesson 3: Learning is a social activity

Humans are social creatures, and our learning is intimately associated with our connection to others. Learning shouldn't be viewed as an individual activity performed by a person in isolation. Rather, change management plans should use social elements to maximize learning. Conversation and interaction with others are powerful learning tools.

Lesson 4: Learning is contextual

People do not learn theories and facts in isolation. Everything we learn is in relation to our personal context: what we know and the way we experience the world around us. While it is possible to memorize facts in isolation, learners are only able to truly understand concepts when they can contextualize them.

Lesson 5: Learning takes time

Learning doesn't happen immediately. Learners cannot simply read, listen to or watch learning content and fully understand it all from the get go. They need time to consider ideas, contextualize them, and then revisit them several times. Reflection is a key element when it comes to significant learning.

When it comes to leading change, there is much to learn from Papert's theories. In order to successfully activate behavior change, change management professionals should keep these lessons in mind.