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.

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About Darlene Loebel
Software consultant with 20 years experience in Software Engineering and graduate student in Instructional Design & Technology at Walden University.

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