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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