When I began this course, I looked at myself as a hands-on learner-one who utilizes the resources given by reading and taking notes, but then must respond to the material by discussing viewpoints with others and participating in various activities to ensure I have mastered the objectives. I still feel this is the best way for me to lean, but now I have a deeper understanding of the learning theories associated with my own learning preferences. Cognitivism, behaviorism, constructivism, social learning, connectivism and adult learning were the learning theories that were discussed in detail throughout the weeks of this course, and I can see how all of these theories are somewhat part of the way I learn, though some more than others.
Behaviorism reflects on how we learn something and use it based on how we feel it is supposed to be used in the environment around us. Often times in the corporate world, there is only one allowable option of doing things and training material is composed to reflect that one way. Quizzes and activities are designed to have one right answer.
However, I have found that in my area-sales-looking outside the box allows for more creativity and presents a more enjoyable way of doing things. This is related to constructivism, a theory that “equates learning with creating meaning from experience” (Bednar et al., 1991). My prior experience and knowledge of my professional abilities allow me to provide creative examples when talking to customers allowing for personable conversation instead of reading from a script. The cognitive theory relates to reading and memorizing company facts, policies and procedures preparing employees to know just that, facts. Customers are not interested in knowing facts; instead they want to hear how an experience will benefit them.
Social learning allows us to continue to learn from those around us in our field and apply what we learn to better ourselves in a professional manner. This can also be accomplished through connectivism, “learning influenced or aided by socialization and technology” (Siemens, 2006). The ability to use the internet to seek knowledge from others around the world, to stay current on popular trends, and provide the most accurate information improves performance.
Perhaps the learning theory that encompasses all of the above into one is that of adult learning. I am no longer a youngster, by any means, and learning provides its struggles now more than ever. Adults are most interested in learning about subjects that have immediate relevance to their everyday situations. Therefore, I look at how knowledge affects my everyday personal life, workplace environment, and education. When I look at learning this way, I find I become more involved and the experience is much more enjoyable.
Technology plays an important role in today’s society, and it is changing everyday-what we use today may be different tomorrow, and it is proving to be an exciting adventure. The Instructional Design field is one that is full of current trends in technology, and I am enjoying the opportunity to experience this technology in my knowledge search through my education and workplace. I have learned to use resources to seek information, keep records of information that is useful now and will be in the future, as well as I have learned to use technology in this course to create a blog, a mind map, and a subscription feed for classmates’ and other blogs of interest. There are so many technological resources available, and I look forward to how they will impact learning in the generations to come!
Bednar, A. K., Cunningham, D., Duffy, T. M., & Perry, J. D. (1991). Theory into practice: How do we link? Instructional technology: Past, present, and future.
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge.