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.
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