Piaget's Model of Learning Process

"The learner was neither an 'empty vessel' to be filled with knowledge nor a 'blank slate' on which knowledge could be inscribed, but a system that learned through its own interaction with its environment." -- Learning by Design: Constructing Experiential Learning Programs, Weinberg & Weinberg.

The Steps

Piaget's model of learning comprises four steps:
  • Provocation
  • Disequilibration
  • Self-regulation
  • New learning


We present the students with something that in some way challenges them. This could be as simple as asking for a list of words and putting the words on two different charts. It is like a foreign element in the SatirChangeModel.


The learner literally is "off balance." This is the chaos stage in the SatirChangeModel. The student is looking for a way to take in or reject the provocation experience.


Self-regulation comes comes in two forms:
  • Assimilation
  • Accommodation

Moving from disequilibration into self-regulation is like the transforming idea in the SatirChangeModel.

The learner rejects the data, experience, or considers "just like something else."

The learner rejects his/her existing model in lieu of the new information.

In reality, these are opposite ends of a spectrum. A given learner will often use one or both to varying degrees while self-regulating.

New Knowledge

As a result of the entire experience, the learner has new knowledge. This is something the learner constructed him/herself. We cannot control what the learner has learned but we can guide it through the design of experiential learning situations.