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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Reflection on Learning Theories Course

This course has given me a better understanding of the different learning theories and styles. It has helped me see how people learn and why they sometimes might have difficulties learning.  For example, a course might be a lecture type with little or no interaction and you might have some students having difficulty and not motivated because they like learning using a hands on approach or need lots of visuals to help them comprehend. One of the surprising things I learned was that people don’t just have and use only one particular learning style or theory to learn. People might have a dominant way to learn such as some people are visual learners but they will adapt and change their style for certain types of stimulus that are presented in the learning environment if they don’t see the visual learning style approach as the best way to grasp what is being taught to them.

This course deepened my understanding of my personal learning process by exposing me to the different learning theories and styles which led to me realizing that my learning process was more complex than I initially thought. When I first started the class I thought the learning theories that best align with how I view learning were the behaviorist and the empiricism view. I believed that we all learned by interacting with our environment through some stimuli to engage the learning (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Then after learning about the various other learning theories I realized that the way I learned was a little more complicated and related to the connectivist and social learning theories. I learned that networking and the strength of the relationships within the network is a factor influencing learning (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008). I realized that I did not just learn from a stimulus presented in my environment but also from interactions and with other people. A learned that a lot of my learning happened through my social network with interaction with friends, family, coworkers, trainers and instructors. When I developed my learning mind map I also realized that I used different networks to learn. I use everything from technology, professional organization, formal training, non-technology and social network to learn.

There is definitely a connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology and motivation. One way to motivate students and keep them interested in a course is to use technology. The technology used will be based on the learning theory and style that comforts to the majority of the students in the course.  Using technology such as a multimedia type computer based training course allows for stimulation of several senses which leads to better learning. For example, if you use computer based type training then you might want to keep the students interest in the course by providing an application. This application might be a behaviorist type simulation where the student just follow does and repeats what they just saw or a cognitive type simulation where the student is presented with a problem and they have to draw from experience to solve the problem. It can be said that all the learning theories are well complemented with the use of technology to help enhance its learning approach.

The knowledge gained in this course will definitely help me with my duties as an instructional designer. This course has provided a good foundation on the different learning theories and styles. It is an essential skill when developing courses and will become useful when conducting your analysis and information gathering prior to beginning any design or development (first phase of ADDIE Model). Part of analysis is to gather information on the intended audience for the training (audience analysis). During this analysis is where we get to know what type of students will be attending the course. We will get information such as the age group, education experience, work experience, interest, possible motivators and geography of your audience are just a few of the information that can be gathered. This information will be used to help design what type of tone to use in the course, what type of examples to use, and what type of role playing or other activities to set up (Piskurich, 2006). Once you finish your audience analysis, you will have some idea of what type of students you might be getting to the course and you can use this data to decide which learning theories might be useful and appropriate to meet the problem, task or objective the course is intended to meet. Depending on the learning theories chosen, this will depend what type of graphics, videos, audio, simulation, and other multimedia you will use in the development of the course. Learning theories definitely have its uses and will help in the design of courses and insuring that they are developed to help the student learn.

 

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching and technology

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly , 50-72.

Ormrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning Theories and Instruction. New York: Laureate Publishing, Inc.

Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid Instructional Design: Learning ID Fast and Right. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons Inc

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fitting the Pieces Together

As I just finished learning about all the major different learning theories and learning styles, I can look back on the way I thought I learned and realized my learning style might be a little more complex and involve some of the other theories. I initially thought I just learned using the behavioral theory but I can see myself now more related to a connectivist/social learning theory. I realized that I don’t learn in a vacuum and by myself. I learn not only from a stimulus presented in my environment but by interaction with other people. Learning takes place for me by combining my experiences with that of other people that have can have an influence on me. (such as mentors, instructors, experienced coworkers/friends/family members).   I tend to learn using different networks. Through the use of my social network, I can learn at work through interaction with my co-workers on job related taskings and problems. For personal matters I can collaborate with family and friends to learn and come up with solutions to problems and taskings away from work. If I am in class I can coordinate with classmates to solve problems that are class related for the most part. I can also network with people by attending seminars, conferences and classroom type training that puts together people that work in the same field. I can also use a non technology approach to learn by engaging in self directed learning using books, magazines or newspapers to gather new information. I also use the capabilities that technology brings to learning. I have taken computer based training, used blogs, YouTube, search engines and been to different website to learn and gather information for both work and personal learning.  Technology plays a major role also because most of the work I do at my job is done using technology such as computers and smartboards (used for in-house training).

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Connectivism

Learning is something that is not done on your own. Most learning occurs through different connections or networks. For example, most people learn their trade or profession by first going to school. While at school they learn through their classmate and instructors. After school and once in a job, they begin learning more about their trade through their coworkers. After being in the job for a while, they then begin to enhance their skills through by attending seminars and professional organizations. It is through all these different connections that a person becomes an expert in their profession.

I have created a mind map illustrating my learning network. This network has provided me a large resource of knowledge I can tap into whenever I need answers or assistance with solving problems that I can’t figure out on my own. This network also provides me the tools I need to assist me with my learning such as computers, smartphones, and even the television. These digital tools allow me to connect to an even wider amount of resources by allowing me to access information and people through the internet.

My mind map is proof of George Siemens theory of connectivism in that in today’s digital age there is such a vast amount of knowledge out there that the only way a person can use it for their personal gains is through the use of learning networks. Learning networks are key in assisting us with decisions and keeping up with changes that affect our environment (Chaos Theory). Learning networks also provides a mean for continuous learning since it gives you a large resource of information that is not static and is also changing and being updated.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized