Learning Theories – EDUC6115 – Week 8 Reflection

What I find surprising about how people learn is how complicated it is. Despite the significant breadth of the field of learning theory, it is still insufficient to explain completely how a person learns. While pursuing my Master’s in Counseling I was required to undergo a battery of assessments – IQ, Personality and Aptitude assessments to name just a few. These assessments gave me my first insight into how I am structured – mentally, psychologically, intellectually, etc. At the completion of that degree I felt I had good insight into my learning processes. I am quite surprised to find how little I actually knew when compared to what I know now from completing this course. The theory we studied here and the practical applications are far more advanced and relevant and so much more applicable to the world we live in. I am armed with more relevant knowledge, knowledge I’ve been able to put to use immediately in my own approach to studying and learning. And still, everything we’ve studied goes only so far in explaining how people learn.

My understanding of my personal learning process has deepened in that I understand with conviction that I am no longer constrained to a particular learning style or set of strategies toward learning. During this course I practiced using visualization and mnemonics. I found both tools useful enough in supporting my learning objectives that I will continue to cultivate these techniques beyond this course. This real world application of the theory we studied in this course deepened not only my understanding about my personal learning process but the learning potential of all people.

What I’ve learned about the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation is that our best instructional design must be inclusive of the fullest range of learning theories and styles, it must capitalize on every available educational technology to achieve this objective of inclusivity, and doing so successfully is what is required to cultivate the necessary motivation for success.

I am confident that my learning in this course is going to be a cornerstone in all of my instructional design solutions. The theory acquired in this course will provided a foundation against which I can make judgments about instructional design solution selection. What I design will be directly influenced by my newfound and aforementioned understanding that all instruction must be inclusive of the fullest range of learning theories and styles, it must capitalize on every available educational technology to achieve the objective of inclusivity, and doing so successfully is what is required to cultivate the necessary motivation for success.

This has been a great class and a remarkable learning experience. I will always be grateful for what I learned this semester.

Learning Theories – EDUC6115 – Week 7 Application

What a difference a semester makes. Thinking back on the first week and my response to the first discussion, I saw myself very specifically as a Cognitive and Constructivist learner with a bit of a superior attitude against the behavioral learning theory. Seven weeks later I understand myself to fit into all of the learning theories we’ve studied.

I just purchased a laptop and the keyboard is different from any I’ve used before (the delete key is in a completely different location; the NUMLOCK key turns the keypad into three different functions; etc.). Mastering this keyboard will require a behavioral approach; repeating the correct keystrokes enough times to commit them to memory. All the advanced cognitive and constructivist skills in the world won’t help me, I’ll simply have to get it right enough times to secure it in memory. When I study for the MTEL exams I will utilize specialized practice material designed to target cognitive processes. To utilize the blog I created in this course for purposes later on or beyond this program I’ll have to take a constructivist approach to finding different applications for the blog. My mathematical and linguistic intelligences are strong, my bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can be improved (I am remarkably uncoordinated, a complete klutz).

And so it goes. I am able to find some aspect of my learning ability in each of the learning theories.

This leads me to reiterate my belief that all of us fit into all of the learning theories at some point in our development and all of the learning theories are important and must play a part in informing curriculum design selection.

As to the role of technology in learning, I reaffirm my earlier statements; technology enhances my ability to learn by affording me immediate access to whatever I need and freeing me, encouraging me to explore and expand. Technology – in particular search engines, information sharing technologies (wikis, blogs, e-braries, etc.), and networking – allows me to approach learning in various ways, including ways which are unfamiliar or outside my preferred leaning style. This cultivates all of my intelligences and enhances my ability to learn.

I have remembered more in this course than I have in a long time. Without realizing it I have been limited by a specific learning style (a resource intensive cognitive approach to categorizing material for recall). This course has showed me different ways to approach learning new material and I’ve deliberately practiced/applied and incorporated new tricks which have had immediate and positive impact on my ability to learn  (mnemonics and visual representation, for example.)

Frankly, this amazes me.

Learning Theories – EDUC6115 – Week5 Application – Reflection

When considering how my network has changed the way I learn, I have to say I’m not sure it has changed the way I learn so much as it enables me to achieve a higher level of learning. Because I am immediately connected to virtually anything I need to know I am able to meet the minimum requirements for any course or assignment with relative ease and am therefore free to explore beyond those minimum requirements. This flexibility allows me to amass and incorporate into my learning experience a significant amount of extra-curricular activity. Because I am able to do more, and do it more quickly, I can positively influence my learning outcome and consistently achieve and exceed my learning objectives.

I think I learn in the same manner I did twenty years ago, when I wasn’t so well connected. I don’t think my learning style has changed because I’m connected. The difference now, I think, is how readily available, easily accessible and consumable information is and as a consequence how much more I’m able to learn.

Because I am so immediately connected to information and resources, I am able to capitalize on tools and resources which suit my particular learning style.  The digital tools that work best for me are search engines which allow me to quickly find and access what I’m looking for, as well as any type of practice material which allows me to practice skills or test knowledge acquisition. When I have questions about anything, even as simple as why they float Cranberries to harvest, I almost always start online, at an educational or professional library.  From there I point and click until I find an answer that I can substantiate (cross reference to other credible referential material). I then take that information/knowledge into my real-world network of work, family, friends, and colleagues, testing what I’ve learned in real-world applications.

I think my personal learning network supports the central tenets of Connectivism in that I am most definitely learning through my connections, particularly my online social networking connections.  I ‘like’ the same things my friends ‘like’ and I’m immediately connected to a whole new network of people and information.  In news and blogs alone I have information available to me tailored to exactly what I want to know about, delivered right to my door (inbox, Kindle, etc.). In my experience, the onslaught of information makes it impossible to not learn.

Learning Theories – EDUC6115 – Week5 Application – LoebelD Mind Map

Connectivism

LoebelD Networking Mind Map