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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.

Reference

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/

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WEEK 7: FITTING THE PIECES TOGETHER

Human beings learn in many different ways whether it be by seeing, hearing, and experiencing things first hand (Gardner 2000, pg. 1). However, for some learners have the ability to excel in one method of learning than the other.

The question as to how one acquires knowledge, as always been a fascinating topic. The learning theories, which basically describe how information is absorbed, processed and retained during the learning process helps to outline guidelines as to how this can be achieved. My perspective on the subject as to which is the ideal method for learning proofs futile. As I am led to conclude that learning occurs in stages, which in my view would require a different approach for each stage. John Dewey adheres to the fact that the education begins shortly after birth and continues to shape throughout one’s life. For example during one of previous panel discussion, I argued that it is possible for a child to start out his/her learning through the introduction of behavioral theory. This is due to the fact that a child level of cognitive skills as yet to mature fully (Ormrod et. al., pg. 37, para. 2, 2009). Yes, like Bill Kerr, I too agree that all _ism has a place in the learning arena (Kerr, 2007). Therefore, my ideology has not changed, if anything, I now have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the role each play.

Howard Gardner claims that all human beings possess not just a single or general intelligence but also a set of relatively autonomous intelligence (Gardner, pg. 4 para. 1). He as also brought to my attention that educators have been confusing his MI intelligence with learning styles (pg. 8 para1). This revelation as led me to investigate the difference between the two.

According to an article written by Barbara Prashing (2005) she explains that:

Learning Styles (LS) can be defined, as the way human beings prefer to concentrate on, store and remember new and/or difficult information.

MI on the other hand is a theoretical framework for defining/ understanding/assessing/developing people’s different intelligence factors. Being able to recognize that these two terminologies are not the same, provide instructors with a better insight as to how to prepare lessons to suit individual learning style. I also recognize the fact that where a learner can have MI, learning styles on the other hand tend to be of a singular. As instructors we have to also factor in the need for greater, careful and consistent planning while trying to keep up constantly changing education trends. As Gardner reminded us, “teachers should fashion teaching and learning so that all students have the chance to learn and to demonstrate what they have learned…” (2000, pg. 32). Instructors also have to appeal to the diversity of our currently evolving learners, since learning environment are also constantly changing.

Within the teaching arena, we are now seeing the implementation of technology being used to enhance learning. One of the many concerns that Gardner raised in his article entitles ‘Can Technology Exploit Our Many Ways of Knowing’, is the fact that instructors are relying to heavily on technology to do their work and forgetting the human factor. He pointed out that they are often simply used to “deliver” the same old “drill and kill” content (Gardner, 2000, pg. 33). I believe technology is there to enhance the learning experience as it appeals to the various styles of learning. It should also mitigate the need for teacher center atmosphere, as it encourages learners to exercise their cognitive abilities.

Technology has given rise to new structure of classroom setting, which is an appeal notion. This week during my research on various educational website, I have been introduce to what is now recognized as Hybrid, flip-flop classroom just to name a few. A classroom that encourages blended learning would be a dream environment for any instructor. However, as technology constantly changes, it’s hard to say whether or not most educational institution will have the luxury or chance to facilitate such development. In third-world countries, most public schools can only dream of such transformation. So while we are living in a globalize economy, we are for the most part have limited access to the “latest and greatest” technology out there.

REFERENCES

Bill Kerr. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Retrieved from http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html

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

Prashing B. (2005, August) Learning Styles vs. Multiple Intelligences (MI):Two Concepts for Enhancing Learning and Teaching Retrieved from: http://www.creativelearningcentre.com/downloads/LS%20vs%20MI%20TEX9_p8_9.pdf

Gardner, H. (2003, April 21). Multiple intelligences after 20 years. Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.consorzionettuno.it/materiali/B/697/773/16/Testi/Gardner/Gardner_multiple_intelligent.pdf

Gardner, H., In a Nutshell, Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.consorzionettuno.it/materiali/B/697/773/16/Testi/Gardner/Gardner_multiple_intelligent.pdf

 

CONNECTIVISM APPROACH TO LEARNING

CONNECTIVISM

CONNECTIVISM

In years past, majority my traditional learning experience was centered around small network of teacher-directed instructions or social peer-to-peer groupings. As technology advances with the interjection of globalization, my network of learning has expanded tremendous. This as open the doors to new libraries of information which has allowed my cognitive ability to expand even more. As an adult learner, I am no longer restricted or encaged in a formal structured environment of learning. Instead my network has introduce me to new schools of thought, culture, and social skill-sets.

It has generated my capacity to know more. Learning happens in many different ways through courses, email, panel discussion communities, conversations, web search, reading blogs etc.
The vast  diversity of digital tools available today as captivated my attention. I now consider myself apart of the  Youtube  generation. This phenomenal digital tool has bridge the gap in the ‘Experiential Learning’ arena. I can now connect to the internet and learn how to do more  practical task which I might not have had prior knowledge to.
As the desire to know more increases, the Internet has always been my first source for information. The ability to network or have access to so many cyber library is without a question revolutionary. It enables users to communicate and share infinite resources, ideas like never before on a global scale. It would appear as though there is no question out of bound  for the Internet to answer. Mind you, it might not always provide you with the most accurate or exact (correct) answers but at least it stimulates the cognitive mind. According to an article I recently read on a  website on Connectivism theory, “Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institution, which in turn feed back into network and continue to provide learning for the individual”. The Internet which is the  ‘Godfather’ of all information resource, facilitates this mecca. 
The relationship between work experience, learning, and knowledge as expressed in the concept of connectivity is central to connectivism and I believe how I utilize my network illustrates this fact. Furthermore, based on Siemens posits on Connectivism theory, he argues that under such regime the following principles are also  taken into consideration:
  1. Learning and knowledge rest on diversity of opinion.
  2. Learning is a process of connecting specialized information sources.
  3. Learning may reside in non-human appliances such as the internet.

Reference

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Connectivism Blog: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?journal=3174

Connectivism a learning theory for today’s learner Retrieve from: http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html

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