Final Reflection

In taking this class I have learned a lot about instructional design.  The first thing I recall learning is how surprised I was to learn that all people learn differently how theories have played a part in the learning of myself for many years.  I was especially intrigued to know that there are many differences in the learning process for all learners.  There are those who learn best by doing, such as I. Then there is the learner who must read all material to gain understanding, and then the learner who must hear the material, then there is the learner who could not possible take an online course and be successful because of their lack of ability to self-direct and motivate themselves.  These people may benefit from classes that are taught face to face. This course has deepened my understanding about the learning process and how and where learning occurs.  There are things that we put in long term memory and short term memory. There is also the idea that we were once compared to a computer when describing our learning process.  The difference is that we also operate by emotion which does play a factor in our learning process.  Emotion does play a part in learning because if we are essentially interested in the material being taught then we are on-board for learning and will remain interested without much outside or instructional motivation from the instructor.

       I have learned that there are several different types of learning theories that suggest how people have learned and have been taught.  I have come to the conclusion that there is no definite perfect theory that we can rely on being the best when teaching but the conclusion I have reached is this:  Each theory has a part that we can utilize at different times of study.  For instance, I was trying to see what learning theory was I best suited for, I came to the conclusion that I am many different learning theories.  I know in math I would need the behaviorist theory because research of solving math problems would rarely get done by me because of my lack of motivation of learning math.  On the other hand I can use the constructivist approach in all other subjects because I am more self-directed and motivated in all other subjects. Once you know your learning style half the battle is already won.  You just have to know who you are and your learning style.

       My learning in this class has made me more conscious about how learning occurs.  I am more in tune with how adults learn.  I feel I can design and consistently motive adult learners because I now know that adults learn so much differently than children.  Adult motivation is on a different level than children learning and young adult learning.  I found that relevance must be present for adult learners.  They want to know how learning relates to them.  They need to feel comfortable in their learning and be made to feel as though, no matter how many years it has been since they have been in school, that they too can learn and be successful.  I did truly think that teaching adults would be void of having to provide motivation but through this class I have found that, that is not so true.  I am glad I was able to realize that through this class and am very happy that I had the opportunity to learn as much as I have in this class. I feel I may be a better instructor because of this class.

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Reflection of my learning

Now that I have a deeper understanding of different learning theories, how has my view on how I learn changed?

I now realize many different things on how I learn. Since my class has been vigorously learning different types of theories, I understand who I am as a learner and who I am as a teacher. I now know how I was taught and the theory that was the driving force behind the way I was taught.  Comparing my age with the time the theory was an active one, I can probably guess that behaviorism was more than likely the way I was taught.  That does not mean however, that is the best way for me to learn.  I believe the best way for me to learn is with the theory of constructivism and connectivism because I am more of an experience learner and a resource learner.  I need to relate my personal experience with my learning as well as be able to research through different resources what is being taught. 

What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

I have learned that each learning theory is not perfect but all have wonderful attributes.  It is my belief that something from each learning theory can be used to the benefit of teaching and learning.  Behaviorism is thought to be the best theory for elementary children because of its explicit teaching.  Cognitivism works with how the brain processes material.  My personal favorite which may not be suitable for young learners is constructivism, which is relating outside experiences (personal)  and outside resources (like connectivism) to productive learning.  This theory is thought to be used best with older learners.  My reasoning is that because you have had more time to experience more when you are older so you have a lot more to bring to the table in experiences.  I also learned that I, like others, can not assume that one learning theory suits me best for all subjects.  I have found that while constructivism is best for me in one subject, it may not be the best theory for all subjects.  I have spent a lot of time trying to narrow down what type of learner I am 100 percent, only to find out I am not one particular type of learner 100 percent of the time.  I was very happy when I came to the realization that I can not apply constructivism to all of my learning practices all of the time in every subject.  I know I must use cognitivism for Math because it is so important for me to go through the process by the same token, that is not necessarily true for English and Writing. I am relieved to know that I am a fraction of each theory and I believe the same goes for almost everyone.

What role does technology play in your learning?

Technology plays a very big part in my learning because so much can be accessed through the world wide web, audio, visual, email, blogs etc..I am able to access information many different ways through technology.  The internet, search engines, online articles and journals as well as access to the school library online is how I access my information.  No longer do I do much research the old fashioned way of text book and encyclopedia when I can find the same information utilizing other technology. I can create many different types of learning environments through multimedia aspects.  I can save information needed for future use such as charts and data as well as create charts and data to be used in my class for my own personal use as well as to demonstrate, teach and share.

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Connectivism

As I think about how I learn as an adult, I am reminded of how adults learn differently from children.  I have found that when adults take classes they rely on different aspect than children.  For example, as an adult my learning first of all has a purpose.  I am taking classes to improve my position and job status.  My purpose is much different from those of children.  I need to be able to apply what I am learning to what I have learned during my life experiences or will experience.  This brings me to the usage of many resources.  Being a learner of this day and age, I have become dependent upon many different types of resources that were not available in my early years of education.  Looking at my mind map, you will see that I use technology as a resource, my computer, personal experiences and the social group of my classmates.  Using technology has provided a plethora if information for me.  There is no end to the blogs, emails, chats, groups, articles, online journals and sometimes just simply typing a topic into google or yahoo. Although, I am new to blogging, I have found it interesting as well as educational to read blogs and see what others are thinking or advancements and/or ideas of others. When I have questions, I find it easy to use different types of resources.  I use professional and personal experiences because that is what we use as adults.  We have a wealth of experiences that we can relate to learning.  I also find that I am not intimidated by asking questions or for help in my classes.  As an adult, I am more confident than ever because I realize that learning has to occur for the purpose of my moving forward therefore, taking initiative is in imperative to my success.  I have found myself becoming more and more technology savvy.  It is the only way to keep up with this ever changing world.  I am able to navigate on most websites and also in my online classes.  My learning and usage of different resources increases more and more as I learn more and more.  Learning to me is more than reading a chapter and answering questions.  That is the way learning was done for me in earlier years but now learning is done in so many different ways and I am glad of it.  I am very glad that I am able to use connectivism to enhance my learning experiences.  Who knows, perhaps as time goes on and my education does too, my mind web will become bigger and bigger.

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Connectivism

My social network

Connectivism

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The Brain and Learning

This week my graduate class focused on the brain and how it learns.  I found it very interesting as I attended a workshop about brain research this year.  It is my personal opinion that students (children and adults) recall information that is relevent to their interest.  If there is little to no interest in the topic then I believe learning is minimal.  That is why, as teachers, we have to find ways to make out lessons interesting or we will lose the learner. The brain research workshop I attended focused on the senses and movement to incorporate learning. Through movement, we were taught a whole science lesson about how we process information.  It was amazing how I was able to recall all of the information because it was coupled with simple movement of my hands, arms and feet.  If that would have been text, I doubt I would have learned so much in that short time.  I immediately took the ideas back to the classroom and incorporated them into my math lesson.  My students are in first and second grade (combination class). We did a lesson on geometric shapes using movement and silly voices ,for our auditory learners, it worked great.  They were able to retrieve that information for the remainder of the year.  It is amazing how the brain works. 

In my search for more information on the topic, I was drawn to information from my school library on the Brain Compatible Classroom. Erlauer, Laura.(2003). Brain-Compatible Classroom: Using What We Know about Learning to Improve Teaching. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.  This contained a lot of useful information on how the brain works.  It starts with how the brain is made up and what parts of the brain control our body.  Then it moves to how we learn.  It tells us that the informations must be relevant content or of interest to the learner.  We are encouraged to improve teaching by making all topics interesting to students.  To provide some sort of “you need to buy this and here’s why” sense of urgency. 

This website would be useful if you are interested in how we place information in long and short term memory.  It gives ideas on how to use the information process in the classroom.  It also states that information, to be learned effectively, should be relevant to the learner otherwise it will be placed in short term memory. This website can also be used to determine how the brain receives and uses information and what is the best way to teach. It touches on the principals of teaching information in chunks, how to organization information for the learner, referring to prior knowledge, repetition learning and coding. I will use this website because it give the principal and an example for each.   The Information Processing Approach to Cognition (.n.d). Retrieved from http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/infoproc.html

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Blog on instructional design

This is my very first blog so I am excited, nervous and unsure if I am doing this correctly. My task was to sign up for a blog account in my graduate class and research instructional design blogs for useful information.  In my quest, I have found several articles and blogs that were very interesting to me.

One of the first blogs I found was at http://theelearningcoach.com/getting_started/10-qualities-of-the-ideal-instructional-designer/. This blog was asking the question of whether or not instructional designers needed to have a degree.  This blog had some very interesting research. It appears that a majority of instructional designers do not have an instructional design degree.  According to the ongoing survey, only about 38% of online instructors have a graduate degree in instructional design. I found that very interesting.  The blog goes on to list the pros and the cons of having or not having a graduate degree in instructional design . This particular blog also has a top 10 list of qualities the successful instructional designer should possess which is very helpful if your plan is to participate in elearning. Other articles can be referenced from this blog for more information.

The second blog was at improvinginstructionaldesign.blogspot.com.  This blog was set up to give tips on how to improve an instructional design.  This blog provided step by step instructions on how to select software for instructional needs.  There were many references about learning theories, motivation and metacognition and reflection.  I did not see any post to this blog as of yet.  I see this blog as being very useful to a beginner who may need some ideas about choosing software and enhancing intruction. This blog was designed more as a checklist with quick reference materials which is an excellent resource for the beginning designer.

The last blog was christytucker.wordpress.com//instructionaldesign-skills.  This is a fairly active blog about about how to become an instructionl designer.  This was actually the third post of a series. The blog is geared toward the person who has no idea where to start concerning instructional designing.  She makes suggestions of where to start if you are considering designing your instruction.  There are a vast amount of resources and other blogs to reference. I would recommend this blog to anyone who does not have a degree in instructional design as it has all needed references and support.

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