Reflection on Learning Style

After a few weeks of learning more about learning theories and learning styles, my view of how I learn has not changed, but I do have a better understanding of why I learn the way I do.  Learning theories also help identify how learning is influenced (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).  Michael Orey (2001) discussed in detail how important information processing is to learning in Information Processing.  Short-tem memory and long-term memory serves as an internal learning computer and is affected by sensory registers such as sight, smell, and taste.  

 I have challenges retaining information and a particularly flawed short term memory, and I have learned why these issues affect my learning preference.  Retaining information and transferring it to long term memory can be accomplished through an encoding process (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009).  In this encoding process I give information meaning and link it to information that I already know.  Once the information is connected to my working memory and given memory, it can them be transferred to my long term memory.  What is even more intriguing is that the information has to be meaningful to me in order for it to go through this process. Schema development supports knowledge retention (Ormrod et al., 2009). Before learning more about learning theories I did not know why I can only remember information that meaning was applied to, but simple repetition does not work for me.  Semantic processing supports recall (Ormrod et al., 2009) and recall capabilities are correlated to the method used to store information.

Technology is influential to my learning because without it, learning would be very challenging for me.  Learning as a self-directed adult learner, the technology of the Internet, social media, and online learning provides a thriving learning environment for me. Online learning provides a socially interactive learning environment for me which is supported by constructivists who believe active social interaction is imperative to learning (Ormrod et al., 2009). Technology has made learning much more interactive and straightforward because it can create a learning platform that can supply endless knowledge.  These platforms include computers, mobile phones, and learning management systems which can all be used to search for information.

References:

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50–71.

Orey, M. (2001). Information processing. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.  

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson. Chapter 1, “Overview” (pp. 1–16)

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Connectivism

My Mind Map

My mind map illustrated above shows that my network changed the way I search for information because now I use a selection of options that include searching for a topic in journal articles or peer-reviewed articles. Before I returned to school in early 2001, I learned by reading books and using the library to research. By reviewing blogs I also have the opportunity to have control over what I learn and view other’s perception on a topic. My personal learning network supports the central ideas of connectivism because it includes social media where a variety of points of views are shared. According to Davis, Edmunds, and Kelly-Bateman(2008) in Connectivism in Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology connectivism supports the theory that learning and knowledge are built on the diversity of point of views.  A variety of point of views can be shared within a group or even a group of that interacts online such as with a blog.

The digital tool that best facilitates my learning is the Internet.  In Adult Learning, an article by Conlan, Grabowski, and Smith (2003) the authors argued that adults search for convenient and practical learning options such as online learning.  Online library databases, textbooks, and publications are a fast avenue for access to all that I want to learn.  Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have also been influential as useful tools for my learning because these social mediums provide the opportunity to interact with others and share knowledge.  I gain new knowledge when I have questions by conducting a search either online or within a library database.  I apply my critical thinking skills to decipher what information I need and what information I do not need.  Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007) argued that self-directed learning concentrates on the adult learner’s ability to be introspective and think critically.   The adult learner’s ability to identify with the subject matter and apply it to their life and beliefs is essential to the goal of self-directed learning.  The use of social media fulfills my need to learning in an environment that promotes networking and collective, often critical thinking.  

I believe that higher education has become innovative in the need to attract all types of learners.  Adult learners are attracted to online programs perhaps because of the flexibility and unique learning experience.  Learning institutions must stay competitive to attract learners, but they must also bear in mind that one size does not fit everyone.

References

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.

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

Merriam,S, B., R. S. Caffarella, & L. M. Baumgartner. (2007).  Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide.San Francisco:  John Wiley & Sons

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The Brain and Learning

It’s not an anomaly that the brain is essential to learning.  According to Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler (2009) the mind works as an information processing system (p. 48). Understanding the brain can reveal fundamental techniques to learning and how the information is processed.  Worden, Hinton, and Fischer (2011) argued that inadequacies exist in applying neuroscientific findings to tangible classroom instruction. They suggested that researchers and educators must work together to delineate any misconceptions and inconsistencies in understanding the brain and learning.  This article was particularly a good resource to understanding and clarifying the myths of the brain and learning. Worden et al. (2011) pointedly suggested that researchers and educators work together to identify new learning theories, methods, and models.  This rationalization was surprising as it may be assumed by some that learning theories and methods of instruction are researched and developed with the  input of both researchers and educators.   Ormrod et al. (2009) argued that scientists are integral to understanding how the brain works and learn in order to develop more cognitive information processing applications.  Learning, memory, and attention are managed by the brain and examining how these functions work assists with understanding how people learn and understanding problems solving methods. Instructional design requires extensive knowledge of learning theories, instruction development, and proficient application.

 What I find fascinating is how the brain facilitates learning and the different approaches to learning.  Kahveci and Ay (2008) discussed and explained that brain-based learning approach focuses on the composition and functioning of the brain with learning. The constructivist approach allows students to develop knowledge from their environment and is directly correlated to how their environment is perceived.  The study by Kahveci and Ay (2008) was helpful in that it provided a comprehensive history to both approaches.  What is even more interesting are the research paradigms in which these two approaches were constructed.  Brain-based learning approach is supported by quantitative research and the constructivist learning approach stems from qualitative research.  Brain-based learning approach involves brain research in neurosciences, while constructivist learning approach encompasses philosophy, psychology, and education (Kahveci & Ay, 2008). This study was a good resource for examining the comparisons of brain-based learning and constructivist learning approaches.  

References:

Kahveci, A., & Ay, S. (2008). Different Approaches — Common Implications: Brain-Based And Constructivist Learning From A Paradigms And Integral Model Perspective.

Ormrod, J.,  Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Worden, J. M., Hinton, C., & Fischer, K. W. (2011). What Does the Brain Have to Do with Learning?. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(8), 8-13.

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Helpful IDT Resources

Knowledge sharing through instructional design was one of the reasons I decided to explore creating a blog.  After some research I found that developing a blog could be an effective way to share information and receive feedback on different topics and ideas. After so many years of scholarly writing, it was challenging to write in first person.  I found many blogs on instructional design that spanned from informative blogs to corporate training.   The Elearning Coach is a blog is filled with helpful tips on how to become an instructional designer and what it requires. One requirement that stood out in this blog was the need for the instructional designer to understand how people learn and to master learning theories. There were also many helpful suggestions on course development that included using visuals, implementing practice tasks, and using multimedia.  This blog will be helpful as an ongoing resource for e-learning techniques in instructional design.

Another helpful blog for instructional design is The Rapid E-learning Blog. This blog discussed on methods to promote learning in instructional design.  These tips included communications skills, course content, and successful delivery of information.  The blog highlighted three things to building effective course that included: focus on meaning and not information, possible limitations to e-learning, and how to become a purposeful instructional designer.  I especially like the simple graphics on this blog that helped communicate the message of the blog.  A resource that I can use for future instructional designing is the e-learning community that lists tutorials, forums, helpful downloads and audio and video integration.

The final blog that I reviewed was the Corporate Training and E-learning Blog.  This blog was especially interesting because it focuses on corporate training and e-learning resources.  The blog was filled with helpful training resources that included course lab, a tool that creates web-based training, and slide share, a tool that allows presentation sharing. This blog will be a great instructional design resource for corporate training, free productivity tools, and presentation techniques.

Written by Dr. Shireese Perez. These were the blogs on instructional design that I found helpful.  Please share your comments on your favorite instructional design blogs below.

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