Week8: Reflection-Learning Theories and Instruction

I started the course with very limited knowledge about the various learning theories. From the first beginning, I learned that learners construct their own knowledge and meaning from around them (Ormord, Schunk & Gredler, 2009). It was also very interesting to know how these theories developed from being a myth to traditional wisdom, which became then philosophies, and then developed to be theories based on research (Ormord et al, 2009).

What I found striking about how people learn is the wide range of theories and the very different ways people learn. Additionally, each theory has valid points that could be applied to today’s learning and also have some downsides that an instructional designer should be aware off when designing instruction (Mergel, 1993). It was also striking to find an enormous amount of information about each theory, and how people are researching and relating to it, through articles, blogs or papers. One outstanding fact that I learned about, is how the brain is working, I enjoyed reading and watching videos about how the data is transferred and stored in the brain.

Through the weeks, while taking a deeper look at each theory, I was able to understand more about how I learn. For example, as an adult learner, I enjoy being self-directed in my learning, be able to set my own goals, and gain more skills to improve my work and my life (Conlan, Grabowski & Smith, 2003). Technology has a prominent role in the way I learn, and I became aware that my learning is happening through social networks and connections (Laureate Education Inc., 2009). I usually remember and understand information through the discussion groups, applications, and by researching information (Russell, 2006). Starting my blog was a wonderful way to share my learning experience and contribute to the learning community. It was a step forward in building my confidence as a learner. Also, I was motivated by learning through scaffolding and the expansion of my zone of proximal development (Ormord et al, 2009).

I see that the theories complement each other. They all have distinct strategies and unique features, but each theory still discuss the same concept which is learning (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). The difference is more about the interpretation of learning than the definition of learning (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Understanding the learning styles can help in designing more effective learning experiences; hence, helping the learners to develop various strategies in learning (Laureate Education Inc., 2009). Consequently, we could use different technological tools in delivering the information in many formats, taking into consideration the factors that influence and motivate the learners (Laureate Education Inc., 2009). For example, I was motivated by the different choices, the use of rubrics, the feedback and being in a group with contribution to the discussion board (Ormord et al, 2009).

In my learning journey to be an instructional designer, and from this course, I am taking with me the concept of considering the different approaches to learning (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). I am also taking with me that there are many ways to be intelligent; and all forms of intelligence should be equally recognized (Giles, Pitre, & Womack, 2003). As an instructional designer, it is crucial to recognize the strengths and limitations of each learning theory and apply an appropriate strategy in the designing process (Mergel, 1993). In this course, I acquired and developed new research skills, in terms of finding relevant and valid information on the internet and through the library. Moreover, I gained more knowledge about the use of technology in the learning process, and how to use it in presenting information (Conlan et al, 2003).

In conclusion, this was a wonderful journey and a discovery about learning theories, and how I learn. I will continue in discovering the instructional design field and continue learning. Armstrong (2009) stated that “Before applying any model of learning in a classroom environment, we should first apply it to ourselves as educators and adult learners” (p. 20).

References

Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate?. Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf

Giles, E., Pitre, S., & Womack, S. (2003). Multiple intelligences and learning styles. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved December 7,2011 from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning

Ertmer, P.A. & Newby, T. J.  (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4).

Laureate Education Inc. (2009). Learning styles and strategies. [Transcript]. Baltimore, MD: Ormord

Laureate Education Inc. (2009). Motivation in learning. [Transcript]. Baltimore, MD: Ormord

Laureate Education Inc. (2009). Connectivism. [Transcript]. Baltimore, MD: Siemens

Mergel, B. (1993). Instructional design and learning theory. Retrieved from http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm

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

Russell, S. S. (2006). An overview of adult learning processes: Adult-learning principles. Retrieved December 18, 2011 from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/547417_2

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