Dr. Jeanne Ormrod states “To teach effectively, you’ve got to know how students learn” (Laureate Education, 2009). As an educator, trainer, or instructional designer, it is important that we understand not only what we are teaching but how the information is being processed by the student and how the information will be applied in a real situation. During the eight weeks of this course, we have discussed several learning theories including behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, social learning, connectivism, and adult learning. I was aware of the use of some of the concepts associated with these theories, while others I did not realize that I used as a form of learning. Every student learns differently, therefore it is important to incorporate several types of learning theories into instruction in order to stimulate learning from various viewpoints.
As I began this course, I was a little apprehensive about the various types of learning theories and the scientific verbiage that seemed to be associated with each. The details of each theory were overwhelming at times, and as we learned of new theories each week, the information would seem to contradict with that of other theories. However, as the weeks continued and we started the Learning Theory Matrix, I was able to see the differences between the various learning styles. I began to notice concepts from each theory that I associated with either my personal style or that of one of my children. The more I would think about how the learning style affected me directly, the more I was interested in learning. I found myself thinking of techniques that could be used in the classroom, the work environment, or online in order to ensure mastery of a concept. For example, social learning is the theory that “Individuals can express their views through experience and knowledge and share with others” (Kim, 2001). Collaboration, games, discussions, and group projects are all methods of incorporating social learning into the classroom. This allows students the opportunity to discuss their views on a concept while also learning their classmates’ perspective and experience. The online classroom, as well as the school systems, is encouraging social learning by adding group participation in various areas to ensure students are learning objectives and at the same time building upon the concept of teamwork. I was surprised to see how much I really enjoyed learning about these learning theories and how I can incorporate various strategies into instruction.
I recognize that I am a visual, hands-on type of learner. I read the resources given to me, actively take notes, and listen to the lectures, but it is not until I am able to do something with the information given to me that I am truly able to learn. Cognitivism, social learning, connectivism, and adult learning are all theories associated with my personal style of learning. I use cognitive methods of memorization to remember facts, as well as the internet to expand my need for further clarification using the connectivism theory. I am affected by adult learning, because I am actively pursuing my degree at an older age because I see the need for promotion in my future. Social learning is used through the discussion forum, group projects, and blogs to ensure that students are communicating and learning from each other. “One of the things that’s important for any instructional designer to know is the nature of not only the learner in general but also the nature of specific learners and the fact that different people approach learning tasks in somewhat different ways” (Laureate Education, 2009).
Last week the course discussion focused on the effect of technology on the Instructional Design field. I stated in my blog that 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. Not only does technology influence the Instructional Design field with current trends and new opportunities but it should also motivate us as experts in our field to continue to provide insightful and creative modes of learning. After all, “To learn effectively, you not only have to have the cognitive processes that enable you to learn effectively and to remember it effectively; you also have to want to learn it” (Laureate Education, 2009).
The Learning Theories Instruction course has taught me how to engage my personal learning styles and also recognize that every individual has their own style of learning. This course was outlined in a manner to be both challenging and informative, and because of the way the content was outlined I was motivated to want to learn more about the objectives. Various modes of learning styles and strategies were used in this classroom to stimulate learning, and I have learned that I must guide my future material as an Instructional Designer in much the same manner. Two or three different ways of approaching a subject and giving students a choice of how they can learn helps keep them motivated and ensures a greater understanding of a concept (Laureate Education, 2009). Therefore I will incorporate my new knowledge of learning styles, learning strategies and technology resources to provide motivation for greater learning in whatever instructional situation I may encounter in the future.
Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from Projects.coe.uga.edu: http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Social_Constructivism.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009). An introduction to learning. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009). Learning styles and strategies. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009). Motivation in learning. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD.