Reflecting on Learning Theories and Instruction

When I began this eight-week course, I began with the mindset that learning theories, philosophies, strategies, and styles were all apart of the foundation that provided insight and guidance to the learning process. In addition to reinforcing my train of thought each week, I was provided with resources that deepened and expanded my thoughts on the learning process. However, I was also presented with ideas that I had not heard of in any of my other classes such as connectivism. It was also very interesting to learn the way technology is adapting and influencing a change in learning. Overall, with all the information presented I learned that learning is comprised of many components with the main tenet that all learners are unique.

As an instructional designer in the making, I found it a bit intimidating going through all the components that compose learning. With each person promoting different theories, ideas, and technology that they feel is superior than another. When it comes to learning theories, I feel they are all important. Kerr and Kapp, also mention that all the -ism or theories in learning are valuable (Kapp,2007; Kerr,2007). In addition, Ertmer and Newby (2013) wrote about behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism making up the spectrum of learning based on the knowledge level of the learner. This made me realize theory is important, but it is also important to take into consideration the knowledge of learner with the theory that is being used (Laureate Education, n.d.).

The learning theory of connectivism basis itself on the integration of technology, social networks, and knowledge distribution (Laureate Education, n.d.). Until this course, it was a theory that was foreign to me. However, this theory makes sense with the advancement of technology and the way people retrieve information in today’s world. Examples of connectivism are blogs and other social networking sites. After the completion of my mindmap, I was able to see the extent of my online connections (my connectivism roots). My mindmap activity really helped me to understand the way connectivism operates.

Connectivism integrates technology and so can the other theories. For example, makerspaces are physical spaces where the learner creates products, which can utilize technology in the creation of the product such as 3D printers (The New Media Consortium Publications [TNMCP], 2017). Makerspaces draw on the theory of constructivism. In adult learning theory, where self-directed learning is key, it allows technology to used in many ways that encourage the concept of self-directed learning to be used.

In conclusion, learning is simply complex. How so? As I mentioned before, learners are unique. Therefore, this creates the complexity in learning. In addition, we are all at different knowledge and cognitive levels. Other concepts we need to be aware of are environment, experience, and motivation of the learner because all these factors influence learning. We also need to be informed of the evolution of the theories and the theories applications with newer technologies to keep the content relevant. As instructional designers we must take all this into consideration when creating instructional materials and activities to provide the learner with the fullest learning experience.

References

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J.  (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing  Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective, Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26, 43-71

Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and About: Discussion on Educational Schools of Thought.Retrieved from http://karlkapp.com/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational/

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Retrieved from  http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Connectivism [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). An introduction to learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

The New Media Consortium Publications. (2017). Makerspaces [Pdf file] NMC/CoSN Horizon Report:2017 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from https://cdn.nmc.org/media/2017-nmc-cosn-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

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Revisiting Learning

 “Instructional designers have been charged with ‘translating principles of learning and instruction into specifications for instructional materials and activities’. To achieve this goal, two sets of skills and knowledge are needed. First, a designer must understand the position of the practitioner… In addition to understanding and analyzing the problem, a second core of knowledge and skills is needed to ‘bridge’ or ‘link’ application with research – that of understanding the potential sources of solutions. Through this understanding, a proper prescriptive solution can be matched with a given diagnosed problem. The critical link, therefore, is not between the design of instruction and an autonomous body of knowledge about instructional phenomena, but between instructional design issues and the theories of human learning” (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 43 – 44).

This is a lengthy quote from Ertmer and Newby’s paper, but it speaks to the heart of what I’ve learned about learning and the learner relationship to the instructional designer’s mission. In addition, I’ve had my opinions about the learning process, styles, and theories being useful to the learner based on content being taught. After learning more in depth about these topics, my opinion about these topics has not changed from the beginning of my instructional design journey. I am still in full agreement with having a fuller learning experience by being open to using all the theories or -isms because each one has its place in learning (Kapp,2007; Kerr,2007). The most valuable lesson I’ve learned about the learning theories, styles, and strategies is that they are apt to evolve with the more we know about the brain, behavior, and learning.

In my own learning, I didn’t think much about learning style except when prompted to answer the question in classes I’ve taken. Therefore, after thinking about it I would always reply visual and kinesthetic. However, I mentioned this to my sister at one point and we discussed if it was possible to be one style of learner because we use all our senses to learn; unless, we are physically incapable of using a sense. In “Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students”, Mr. Pashler argues to stop wasting time with this notion because it is not improving the students learning (The Chronicle of Higher Education, n.d.). He suggested to match content to teaching. I agree with his thoughts because different content requires different activities or methods to deliver the material being learned.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge the role of technology in learning. This has become the mode for information at our fingertips. It is something I find myself constantly using in one way or another. I am avid Googler. If I don’t know something I make sure to use Google as my launching point to find information before going to my alternate sites such as: library databases, Kahn Academy, YouTube, etc. Much of the information I collect nowadays comes from an internet/technology source. However, I also use technology to write blogs, assignments, and create PowerPoints to share information. Technology has really made a mark in my learning, what about you? I predict that as technology continues to advance we will continue to find new and creative ways to utilize it to assist the learner like me.

References

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J.  (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective, Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26, 43-71

Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and About: Discussion on Educational Schools of Thought. Retrieved from http://karlkapp.com/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational/

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Retrieved from http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Matching-Teaching-Style-to/49497/

My Learning Connections Unmasked

This week I published my mind map, which focused on my connections that facilitate learning. It made me reflect on how much of my learning comes from online networks, digital tools, and digital applications. Sometimes, it makes me think how did people learn before. Obviously, I know there were different methods of learning that had nothing to do with the Internet, digital tools, or digital applications. However, it amazes me the amount of information available at our fingertips and the way that information network continues to grow.

It is great having a vast database of information available because when I have questions about a topic or problem I have somewhere to go to begin my search for answers. I begin with the Google search engine and move through my other resources until I find an answer that makes sense to me. I also utilize those in person to discuss questions I have. I am sure if we were to ask people how they researched new knowledge they would most likely state Google. After all many people have coined the term “Google it”. Regardless of our research method for online knowledge, we need to exercise caution with these types of online sources of information because not everything posted is true or validated by empirical data. We should be aware that sources like Google, Youtube, and blogs are great sources of information, but their resources may be opinions or trends and not facts based on data. Therefore, make sure to check your facts before believing the opinion of one site.

As you may have noticed by my learning connections or mind map, I am an avid user of the Internet and technology. I love utilizing various websites for social networking. My go to website in the past was AOL for instant messaging, then it was Yahoo messenger, and currently it’s Facebook messenger. I enjoy using Pinterest to examine new trends for hair color and discovering delicious new healthy recipes. Education wise my go to for math or science related problems is Khan Academy for how-to videos or YouTube. I also use programs such as: PowerPoint, Word, and Publisher for personal and educational purposes. When making my mind map, I noticed that I could have continued to make branches on it, but I thought what I had would get the point across for my learning connections. I am sure the same could be said for others that map out their learning connections.

Why share my mind map? My reason for this was to discuss the connection between my learning network and the learning theory of connectivism. Connectivism presents the idea regarding learning as a network of connections with a feedback loop of discussion, discovery, sharing, communication, and filtering (Connectivism, 2017). It also presents the idea of learning as an outside the learner experience and interaction with the network (Siemens, 2005). I believe my mind map supports the main ideals of connectivism. If I were just to observe the branch with Walden University (I have the branches separated), it is connected in many ways of resource, communication, sharing, etc. which would back the idea of connectivism. What are your thoughts?

References

Connectivism. (2017, January 31). ETEC 510. Retrieved February 6, 2019 from http://etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/index.php?title=Connectivism&oldid=63629.

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

The Brain

This week I learned about the brain and the way information is processed through it. There is so much I could share, but I will keep it relatively short. The brain is a complex organ. It is through this organ that we the individuals can process, store, and retrieve information. However, the way we utilize the information process can range from inefficient to efficient. Those that are more efficient with their information processing can utilize concepts such as encoding. Encoding is a more efficient manner of storing information for faster recall by storing information in different formats. For me this would be through visual and hands-on means. However, the format can vary from person to person. In addition, I also believe that the way the individual process information can vary from situation to situation due to external/environmental factors.

What else can the brain do? It can problem solve. The information processing theory describes how individual’s problem solve when learning by utilizing encoding, retrieval, and metacognition (Laureate Education, n.d.).  These fancy words just refer to figuring out what the problem is, using prior knowledge or experience to attempt to solve the problem, and metacognition is the guiding hand that tries to get you from point A to point B.

Now that you know a little bit about the brain, check out these resources below to learn more about the way people learn, problem solving, and brain-based learning.

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School

To start with this is a book about the way people learn. The title gives away everything this book is about. How People Learn has four sections. The first section introduces the science of learning. The second section is about learners and learning. The third section focuses on the teachers and teaching. The final section deals with the future for science behind learning. The reason I included this resource was because I thought it reinforce concepts learned from week 2 or introduce new concepts about learning.

The Impact of Metacognitive Strategies and Self-Regulating Processes of Solving Math Word Problems

This resource provides a study pinpointing the impact of metacognitive strategies and self-regulation in conjunction to solving math word problems. In other words, do these strategies and processes influence the learner’s ability to problem solve. The results conclude that those using metacognitive strategies and self-regulating processes were more successful in their attempts of the math word problems.

 Brain-Based Learning

I had to include one resource about brain-based learning because that is the trend being advertised. However, from what I have gathered brain-based learning in the sense of having viable applications for education are few. Although, there are many books out there indicating that it is based on brain-based learning, the books are said to be inaccurate and do not have the accurate data to back up the claims. This article just summarizes brain-based learning as to what it is and applications it hopes to accomplish.

Until next week!

References

Committee, O. D. I. T. S., National, R. C., Board, O. B. C. A. S., & Division, O. B. A. S. S. (2000). How people learn : brain, mind, experience, and school: expanded edition. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.).  Information processing and problem solving [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Thompson, S. (2018). Brain-Based Learning. Brain-Based Learning — Research Starters Education, 1–6. Retrieved from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e0h&AN=31962573&site=eds-live&scope=site

Vula, E., Avdyli, R., Berisha, V., Saqipi, B., & Elezi, S. (2017). The Impact of Metacognitive Strategiesand Self-Regulating Processes of Solving Math Word Problems. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 10(1), 49–59. Retrieved from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1156332&site=eds-live&scope=site

Useful Resources for the Budding and Established Instructional Designer

Hello fellow bloggers and classmates,

Below are the three resources I located for Week 1 Assignment. I hope the resources I selected are different than what you chose for the assignment that way we can have more resources, which we can hopefully utilize in the future. I can’t wait to interact with you. Please enjoy the resources below.

Shift eLearning

Shift eLearning is a blog aimed to assist instructional designers by providing them a place to access tips and tricks of the trade. Instructional designers can utilize the Shift eLearning blog or subscribe to get a newsletter with similar information. However, the blog and newsletter are only a small part of the website. The rest of the site is dedicated to an eLearning platform. This platform allows the user to create content for an online course with a user-friendly interface.

Model eLearning

Model eLearning is a blog where the design team from Spring Arbor University can share their insights about topics related to instructional design. Some of these topics reference learning trends, tips, and personal experience. Many of the posts, I noticed were about eLearning. This makes sense because of the digital age we are in. Therefore, it is important to have relevant input about eLearning.

Trends and issues

Trends and issues is a blog dedicated to identifying the current trends and issues occurring in the Instructional technology and educational technology field. Their blog posts are labeled as episodes and consist of a short post that summarizes the podcast the blogger includes at the end. The authors of the post, Dr. Abbie Brown and Dr. Tim Green also include their own perspectives on these trends and issues, as wells as reading resources that the readers may find useful and relevant to the topic they are discussing.

For those of you who have not heard of these websites, maybe you can utilize them in your journey to become an instructional designer or assist those who are already instructional designers.

References

Brown, A. & Green, T. (n.d.) Trends & Issues. Retrieved from http://trendsandissues.com/

Model eLearning. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/57382132

Shift eLearning. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog