I also find it interesting that learning is such a science and can be calculated and manipulated in a way that can increase motivation to learn. I always thought that teachers simply taught the information. I was ignorant to the idea that teacher and trainers not only had to provide the content, but manipulate the delivery and the communication of the content in a way that motivated and inspired people to learn. It makes me think back to some of my best teachers/professors, the ones that I learned the most from and now I understand how they effectively they used the theories and learning styles that they learned school to inspire learning in their own classrooms. As I move into my IDT career I will try to reflect on my favorite professors, what and how I learned from them and see if I can connect my learning experiences to their practices to motivate my students/trainees.
In understanding how I learn, it has deepened my understanding of the various ways that everyone learns. Learning is not just for the young, because their brains are, "like sponges." I believe that everyone is capable of learning, but it is a matter of understanding how the process of learning occurs. I believe that all adults seeking higher education and or training for personal or professional reasons should first take a class on learning theories, styles, technology, ect. By understanding the process of learning you can train your mind to learn as much as it is capable of learning. I believe that people in general are so limited in their knowledge, their ability to retain information, and their fear to practice what they have learned because they don't understand the mechanics of how learning occurs.
In terms of learning styles, theories, technology and motivation, I learned that I can tailor any content course, or information that is given to me in a way that I, personally am able to learn. I understand that the theories are foundations for learning. The theories serve as a platform for learners and teachers to expand on. No more, will I simply be a student in class, but I plan to challenge myself, future professor and my own students/trainees to seek news ways to learn, retain information, and make the content personally relevant. They goal is not to simply gain knowledge, but it is to be capable of applying it to real-world scenarios.
Speaking of real-world scenarios, I am especially excited about the combination of technology and education. The country has entered in to a new way of inspiring education. Today, students can learn online while balancing jobs, family and their personal life. Technology putts education in real-time and opens up multiple networks for interacting and learning. In fact, I believe that the ease of technology has made more people inspired to learn. I can’t count how many times I gotten lost in the Wiki rabbit hole, because as I am reading about one topic, I can click though and download information about another topic, and it can continue that way forever. Also, blogging and social networks are a great resources to give and receive new information. Technology, has brought some much new and inspiring information that it is simply hard to resist learning.
Finally, this course has taught me to think outside of the box in terms of how my course material is developed and keep the theories in mind as a base/foundation of how to develop and implementation new learning assignments. This course has helped me to understand that people learn and are motivated to learn in various different ways. Therefore, it is my responsibility to know use various learning styles and theories to motivate my students/trainees. Also, I will make sure that I keep my content straight and to the point, I will utilize problem solving skills to build confidence in my students and give timely feedback, encourage class participation and peer reviews. I also plan on using my Learning Theory Matrix at the beginning of my programs to help people understand the kind of learner that they are and work with them to motivate them and achieve maximum results. Once my programs are complete. I will also asked them to evaluate my course so that I can get an understanding of how well I am doing as an ID.
My evolution of learning from week one until now has changed tremendously. Initially, I chose behaviorism because, as a child I was very observant and I relied on the behaviors of others to learn how to act. However, after reading and studying to various learning theories, I understand that I learn many different ways. My outlook on learning was a one point, one dimensional, whereas it is more multi-dimensional, as it should be.
By simply knowing and understanding each theory per the chart, I see that I utilize adult learning principles, because I unlike in my earlier years as I mentioned before, I worked to get grades. Today, my education is more valuable to me in terms of how I am actually going to use this degree. As an adult learner, I also reply on lessoning and actively seeking information, opinions, facts, experiences from my peers, not just my pool of previous knowledge. Moreover, I love the flexibility of adult learning. The technology makes it easer to fit my schoolwork into my busy schedule.
Connectivism, is another theory that I feel really applies to my life. I am constantly collaborating and expanding my network (personal and professional) by using the Internet, social networking sites, and blogs to gather information. I have also, through my own ID blog started to actively contribute to my network by posting to and developing my own blog. Learning has become more enjoyable because I consistently communicate with others, not simply reading chapters, doing assignments, and other individual learning activities.
Through social learning, I am again, able to interact with others and observe how my peers digest information. With this information, I tap into my own working knowledge and determine if the information and behaviors that I learn from others works for me and are applicable to my academic, professional and even personal learning experiences.
Through constructivism, I’ve found my individual academic satisfaction. By completing and understanding my assignments and individual task, i.e. The Learning Matrix, I have more confidence in my ability to learn and utilize new information. It is very exciting! Moreover, I feel more prepared to teach others as I continue to learn and build on my own in various ways. I enjoy and look forward to the challenge of learning and be able to communicate what I’ve learn to other using ID.
Finally, by completing The Learning Matrix chart. I understand that behaviorism and cognitivism are second nature and always plays a role in how I learn. By going learning and understanding all of the learning theories, I see that my thinking and ability to learn is more complex that I originally thought. Behavioral and cognitive learning is learning at it’s simplifies form, but all humans have the ability to expand and exercise their minds to achieve individual learning.
When I have questions, the first resource that I tap into is still my Dad. He knows everything and if he doesn’t know, he can always point me in the right direction. If my father is not available, I usually “Google it.” I trust Google to provide relevant content, just as I trust my father. I studied the search engine platform that Google provides and it is very well thought of. There is a science that search engine optimization provides that makes searching for information more efficient. Another attractive element of the Internet is that the user can easily cross reference material and content.
As we are all products of our environment, we are all connected to the networks and influences around us. The effect that our family, friends and co-workers have on our network of knowledge is stimulated in many ways. In most instances we don’t have a choice or rather cannot ignore the effect that these networks have on us, because we are constantly interacting with our family, friends and people on our social and professional networks. However, there are network avenues that we seek and tap into on our own, such as the blogs we choose, the television stations that we watch or the newspapers that we read. Yet, whether we voluntarily seek information through our networks or pick up learned behaviors from our daily environments, it is all connected in a way that helps us grow and learn from various avenues. Again, this is the most fascinating element of interactivity, social networking, blogs, etc… it is a web of information that is relevant or irrelevant depending on what a person is seeking or has a need for at any particular time. It is an amazing thing and I think that everyone will agree that, in terms of learning and passing knowledge down to generations to come, the Internet and Social networking in the hieroglyphics of our time.
Although the Wiki article speaks primarily to the learning process of children, it can be assumed that this process is applicable to everyone. Learning is experienced on all levels of life and development. Thus at any age, an individual that is in the process of learning executes certain steps or incorporates a system that aids him or her in processing, learning, and ultimately retaining information. For example, according to the Wiki, “When the individual perceives, encodes, represents, and stores information from the environment in his mind or retrieves that information, he is thinking. Thinking also includes responding to any constraints or limitations on memory processes.” Implying that the learning process is universal and if properly executed can serve as the bases for teaching children and adults.
As a person gets older he or she will have a pool of experiences and teachings to draw from, serving as a reference point for new information is presented. Previous information can derive from social, cultural, educational and / or religious environments. Which brings me to my next online resource; The Journal of Online Learning and Teaching- http://jolt.merlot.org/currentissue.html - I selected this journal as I felt it serves a good source of information for online and interactive learning.
For example, I read an article on this site entitled: “An Application of Contemporary Learning Theory to Online Course Textbook Selection.” The content of this particular article revealed that an individual’s personal environmental influences can have an effect on the way he or she learning and prioritizes what information is relevant and what is useless, instructional designers / teachers should subscribe to the Constructive Learning theory. The Constructive learning theory, “primarily views an instructor as an enabler or helper providing minimal guidance, rather than a source of information and control, while emphasizing learner control and “learning by doing”. Examples of active learning elements are group and class discussions, learner-controlled discovery, students teaching other students, social context, and motivation (Mostyn, 2009).” Being a source of information is simply not enough in terms of teaching /training, because a simple sources leaves student/trainees open to make their own interpretation of the material that is presented. As teachers and designers it is imperative that we not only provide the information, but guide students to a specific end-result / learning objective. As individuals, students will personally decide how to apply, encode and retain the information based on previous learning experience / methods, points of reference.
Overall it is our job to bridge the gap between how a person interoperates information and how it should be applied to a specific learning objective. No two learns are the same, thus simply providing information/training without a plan or overall learning outcome is counterproductive. Both links provided strong content for my blog and my personal development as an instructional designer.
Blog 1: Lighting in a Bottle is a blog created by Conn McQuinn, is director of the Educational Technology Support Center at Puget Sound ESD in Renton Washington. McQuinn has a little over 31 years working in educational technology. Lightning in a Bottle was selected because I felt that McQuinn could provide a seasoned review of Instructional Design and Technolgy. McQuinn's wisdom could serve as a good resource to the evolution of Instructional Design and Technology.
Click here to read more about Lightening in a Bottle.
Blog 2: eLearing Concepts is a wonderful and up-to-date blog created by Dr. Mary Nicholson, Instructional Design and Technology at Bloomsburg University. I selected this blog because the content was up to date and I like the idea of learning from other students outside of Walden. I think that this site will generate a present-day fresh eye to Instructional Design and Technology.
Click here to read more about eLearning Concepts
Blog 3: Technology for Teachers K-12 is a blog created by Amy Boehman-Pollitt, a teacher specialist for instructional technology for a public school system. As a teacher with experience ranging from K-12 and some college course, Amy's blog provides a range of topics that are applicable to learns young and old. I am especially excited about the blog as it is visually stimulating and I believe that Amy's has her finger on the pulse of education, technology and innovation.
Click here to read more about Technology for Teachers K-12.