As I reflect upon my time in this class, I have to say it . I have been challenged with discussion board and all of the material presented. The reward has been learning so much about something I have been interested in for a very long time. The class has been surprising, enlightening, motivating, and informative.
The beauty of learning has been surprising to me and the lack of interest in the process of learning has been even more of a shock to me. I want to address the latter first. My major is psychology but I teach English; therefore, I did not take any educational classes. Until now, I have felt that I have lacked the necessary tools to teach because I assumed educational majors studied extensively the process of learning. I was surprised to read in article by Mark K. Smith that, “For all the talk of learning amongst educational policymakers and practitioners, there is a surprising lack of attention to what it entails” (Smith, 1999). If we (educators and policy makers) do not respect the process of learning, we force instruction upon the student and the result is “lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff” (Smith, 1999). I was surprised to see that what my coworkers and I often say concerning children’s lack of motivation to learn, because of a lack of food and shelter, was confirmed. Maslow’s theory on needs says that people must have their basic needs (i.e., food, rest, water) first before addressing higher needs (i.e., wanting to learn simply for the sake of learning).
My personal learning process has been enlightened by the exposure to the different learning styles. I realized that much of what I learned in high school was self-taught. I also learned that I am a novice at a lot of things and an expert at only a few things. “Experts’ knowledge is more hierarchically organized” (Ormrod, Schunk, and Gredler, 2009). It’s not that I feel I lack the ability to become an expert in my field, but it’s more of me changing my thinking about new information. I tend to grab new material in big chunks and attempt to digest it quickly. This has worked in the past with a behaviorist type of learning and assessment, but as I advance in my career, I see the importance of being able to “hold more information in WM” (Ormrod, et al., 2009). It was interesting to see how I have been self-handicapping myself by taking on too much, making success impossible (Ormrod, et al., 2009).
I have learned that motivation is a connector between learning theories, learning styles, and educational technology. Students and instructors must be motivated to use the concepts needed for optimal learning. Without motivation instructors will not see the importance of learning theories to learning or create lessons that take into consideration the different learning styles, making learning assessable to all. Many older teachers lack the motivation needed to incorporate technology into their lessons. Knowing the importance of motivation, I will work to keep myself motivated by being knowledgeable about new technologies and becoming an expert on learning theories and styles.
Finally, the information I received in this class will help me in my career by being a reference point. I will continue to read the many articles and chapters in order to fully understand the different theories and the process of learning. As I reflect on the time spent in this class, I realize that it is impossible to make an impact as an instructional designer, instructor, or policy maker without having a clear understanding of learning theories and instruction.
Smith, M.K. (1999) ‘Learning theory’, the encyclopedia of informal education,
www.infed.org/biblio/b-learn.htm, Last updated: September 03, 2009
Ormrod, J.E., Schunk, D.H., and Gredler, M. (2009). Learning Theories and Instruction. New