REFLECTION EDUC 6115: LEARNING THEORIES AND INSTRUCTIONS
Learning is a continuous experience. It as left even the greatest of minds baffled by the intricacies of how the brain works. Throughout the eight weeks of insightful yet overwhelming information on learning theories and instruction; I have come to discover how complicated the learning process can be. At the same time, I am even more fascinated by how learning as evolved.
The brain is by far the most amazing organ in the body and its ability to processing information is even more revolutionary. .One of the many things that stroke my interest was the developmental processing of the brain from childhood through to adulthood.(Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., and Gredler, M., 2009, pg. 38-40). I found it incredibly fascinating because it has answered a lot of questions for me. Such as why do some people seem to learn without effort while others experience challenges? Another probing question that lingered in my mind had to do with what ages is the brain more receptive to learning. For example, I have been told on more than one occasion that the best time to learn a new language is during childhood. It is hard to say whether this is a proven fact. However, Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., and Gredler, M. (2009) argues that early years are just as important for learning as later years (pg. 45, para. 5). But they also claim that children make greater cognitive gains but begin to diminish over time (pg. 45, para. 5). Once again I am left to question why that is and whether or not this is reversible or can be prevented. Of course, I have learned that it is possible to teach an old dog – new tricks figuratively speaking.
At first, I didn’t see the value of learning about all these theories especially within an online environment. Surprisingly enough, it has caused me to pause and reflect on my own learning methodology, instruction planning and delivery journey. As a future design instructor, it has given me the means by which I can now assess learners to better suit their learning needs. Now I have a deeper understanding and appreciation as to its impact on how we learn, how we educate and understand human cognitive learning process on a whole. After all, the science behind how we learn is the foundation for teaching any new skills sets.
Learning theories as presented the opportunity to explore and absorbed new learning and teaching methods. Since there are various facets of learning which occurs in many fascinating ways, instructors like myself would therefore have to find new innovative ways rise to the occasion to meet learners at their true potential. I believe this awareness sets the stage for radical changes in how instructions are being delivered especially in an online environment.
While it is safe to argue that no single learning theory works; they are indeed an evolution of each other. With the rising increase of new technological advancement, and its role in the educational system it calls for new theories or ideologies. Past assignments have introduced me to the different ways I can utilize technology to help meet the learning styles of online learners. I was also intrigued by the variety of classroom concepts such as virtual school, blended learning in action. It propelled my imagination as to the effects this will within my classroom. Be that as it many, it is interesting to see the vast amount of tech medium that are now currently being implemented within a traditional classroom as well as online environment. It makes me question both the benefits and repercussions that can ensue as a result of such a change. We as instructors have to therefore, set guidelines and objective that still encourages utilizing problem solving skills as oppose to relying too heavily on technology to solve it for learners.(Lim C., 2004, pg. 16-17).
During an earlier panel discussion I made reference to an article that said “Understanding what motivates online learners is important because motivated students are more likely to engage in activities that help them learn and achieve,”(Kelly, R., 2012). John Keller came up with an ingenious model to identify ways to motivate learners by using what he calls ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction) model. With the incorporation of ARCS model I can now better assess how best to apply new motivational strategies to assist learners achieve their goals. I believe technology as also helped in this regard and will continue to be another alternative tool use to motivate learning.
Overall this has been an enriching experience for me. I have learnt more about myself as a learner as well as how to understand and meet the needs of a learner. While we have yet to unravel the mystery of how to eradicate learning deficiencies, I remain hopeful that we as future instructors continue to discover new ways to make the online learning experience a successful one.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Lim, C. P. (2004). Engaging learners in online learning environments. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to improve learning, 48(4), 16-23.
Kelly, R.(2012). Five Factors that Affect Online Student Motivation, Faculty Focus retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/five-factors-that-affect- online-student-motivation/