Archive for May, 2012

Connectivism

This week’s application was dedicated to the theory of connectivism which “emphasizes the idea that knowing where to find knowledge is as important as the knowledge itself as knowledge is always evolving with concepts being born or becoming obsolete” (blalockj3405, 2011). The first step in learning of this theory was to create a Mind Map. This was a new concept for me, but one that I can see using frequently in the future. Using software from http://www.spinscape.com/, I was able to brainstorm several types of networks that are commonly used in learning objectives. I will discuss these networks, the components which I am familiar, and how each of these components has affected my learning.

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There are several electronic devices that are used in today’s society making technology accessible from wherever, whenever. I use my laptop computer, Kindle tablet, and cellphone to ensure that I have communication with friends, family, and employers as well as for access to on-line networks, social media, and school courses. Technology has made living more convenient, comfortable, and faster paced by allowing us to stay current of popular trends and world events while offering peace of mind.

As a graduate student at Walden University, it is important to have unlimited access to the online environment. Resources including the Walden Library, Tech Resources, Discussion Forums, and Email are available on my laptop, Kindle, and cellphone so that I can read, study, post discussions, and check messages from my Instructor wherever I may be—baseball games, out of town trips, or even the school pickup line. It is important to me to receive a quality focused education and therefore immediate access is vital. Tools such as Google and Yahoo allow me to gain additional resources and therefore increase knowledge of concepts and objectives, while my blog as well as my classmates’ blogs allow me to learn from others through peer collaboration. Yahoo and Google are tools that allow me to stay current on new trends in the Instructional Design field, and how this occupation is making an impact on adult learners around the globe.

Social media is another network that has impacted learning and connectivism. Who would have ever thought ten years ago that society would be able to log into their computer and share pictures, events of the day, or chat with someone they have not seen in twenty years? Employers are now using social media to gain access into the life and experience of job candidates through Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. Job candidates and students can use Linked In and blogs to reach out to employers and others in their same field to gain knowledge and helpful tools to increase their hiring potential. Employment resources such as Monster and Career Builder are used to find jobs in local areas as well as demographics with a need for our technical and design experience.

Connectivism allows students to learn from others through various networking applications. Learning through the online classroom, online networks, employment resources, or through social media, we have many more networking abilities accessible now than ever before. Networking allows us to learn through the experience and knowledge of others, and it is important as we grow to become experts in our field that we continue to use the various modes of communication to stay current. The world is ever-evolving and we must always aim for the top!

References:

blalockj3405. (2011, February 6). Connectivism. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from Teaching and learning resources: http://teachinglearningresources.pbworks.com/w/page/31012678/Connectivism.

Spinscape, Inc. (2007-2010). Spinscape. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from Spinscape.com: http://www.spinscape.com/.

Information Processing Theories

This week the topic of discussion in my Instructional Design course was learning theories including how the brain processes information that is received and how the information is stored using three modes of memory: sensory, short-term (working) or long-term. Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler state learners “select and attend to features of the environment, transform and rehearse information, relate new information to previously acquired knowledge, and organize knowledge to make it meaningful.” (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p. 50).

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/learning/memory.html

This article focuses on the concepts of learning and memory. Sensory memory is stored for approximately a few seconds, short-term memory is comprised of short bits of information that is either transferred to long-term memory or discarded, while long-term memory is defined as permanent storage. The article also expands on Miller’s Magic Number theory and the Information Processing model to further describe the brain’s function in learning. The concepts provided in this article helped me to grasp the role memory plays in our learning. Clark discusses how information is transferred from short-term to long-term memory and as instructional designers, “we must find ways to make learning relevant and meaningful enough for the learner to make the important transfer of information to long-term memory” (Clark, 2010). This resource provides detailed descriptions of concepts as well as graphics and examples to further increase knowledge of the topic.

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http://www.cognitivedesignsolutions.com/DesignProcess/CogDesignPrinciples.htm

This resource discusses how understanding the learning process allows for instructional designers to effectively plan and prepare materials for successful interpretation. I especially found informative the Nine Events of Instruction which describes the “tactics of instruction that can be applied to most instructional methods or learning activities.”

Nine Events of Instruction

Gagne, R., Briggs, L. & Wager, W. Principles of Instructional Design (4th Ed., 1992)

The article further details various researchers, theories, and references to greater detail the importance of learning processes. I enjoyed this article and found there to be several insightful references also included for further reading of concepts and application.

References:

Cognitive design principles. (2003). Retrieved May 13, 2012, from Cognitive design solutions: http://www.cognitivedesignsolutions.com/DesignProcess/CogDesignPrinciples.htm

Clark, D. (2010, November 6). Learning and memory. Retrieved May 13, 2012, from Big dog & little dog’s performance juxtaposition: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/learning/memory.html

Gagne, R., Briggs, L., & Wager, W. (1992). Principles of instructional design (4th ed.).

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

Blogs: The Doorway to Professional Communities

There was quite a lot to learn this week about the power of blogging. I am fairly inexperienced with the activity, only using blogs occasionally when looking for additional information on a new topic. I am thrilled to know there is so much out there to learn from other individuals who are on the same track either professionally, educationally, or both. The blogs that I found most interesting related to the eLearning aspect of instructional design since that is the direction that I am looking at going in my future work adventures.

The eLearning Coach.com at http://theelearningcoach.com/  provides various articles relating to the profession of eLearning in any environment. The article “10 Ways to Occupy ELearning” at  http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/10-ways-to-occupy-elearning/ defines ten things that instructional designers and trainers can do to make training more effective and produce greater results. Interestingly enough one of the ways suggested is to push back. “Will adding two more hours of extraneous content really help employees be more effective? Will this extra material clarify or confuse students?” (Malamed, 2012). As a trainer, there have been times when I have been placed into this position by being asked to create additional training courses. This article made me reflect on some of these instances. Maybe the problem did not lie on the information being given but instead on the amount of information. Clear and simple content will win out each time and will leave the audience feeling secure in their knowledge and abilities. The articles presented on this website encourage thinking outside the ordinary in order to provide productive results.

Another resource I found particularly interesting was Corporate ELearning Strategies and Development at http://elearndev.blogspot.com/. My past work experience is in the corporate training field so I enjoyed reading some of the positive and somewhat negative perceptions given to the training profession. For example, one discussion titled “14% of Employees Value Corporate Training as Essential to their Learning” states that more than 70% of employees find training in the workplace to be unimportant (Schlenker, 2012). This is an astounding number to hear for someone who feels as passionately as I do about teaching others. Schlenker states, “This is a human problem that involves every aspect of each employee’s personal and professional life.  This is where we begin to look at learning as a whole instead of just the training parts” (Schlenker, 2012). Many of the discussions posted on this blog reflect on the reasoning for corporate training and new and improved methods for increasing performance. I think this resource will provide substantial tools throughout my Instructional Design degree program.

The Rapid eLearning blog revolves mainly around the software and graphics realm of instructional design. Many of the discussions relate to ways to improve the design of various concepts and current software available to help in this area. “Do You Have the Skills to Succeed?” at http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/ discusses multiple skills that an instructional designer must have in order to be effective including:

  • Project consulting
  • Instructional design
  • Visual design
  • Experience design
  • Expertise with your authoring tool
  • Understand common eLearning technologies (Kuhlmann, 2012).

The article continues to suggest various ways to increase knowledge in each of the required skills. I am hoping to learn most of these skills during my degree program, however much of what is needed in order to be successful depends on staying up-to-date with current trends in the industry.

The resources that I used this week will be effective in various courses and areas in my Instructional Degree program as well as in any corporate environment I may be involved with in the future. I look forward to the future articles presented in each of these blogs and websites.

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