Learning Theories and Instruction


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

            Jersey: Pearson

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Constructivism!


Initially, when first being introduced to the learning theories, I felt overwhelmed. I have always been interested in how people learned but had no idea that there were actual theories to support the various ways. In the beginning, the information all ran together and I felt as though I were riding on a bumpy road without any direction. It was hard to distinguish one theory from the next. Eventually, the light came on and the bumpy road became much smoother. The first question in class was how do you learn, and I answered the best I could with my limited knowledge. Now, however, I have a better understanding of how I learn and the importance of the process. I am empowered as I have come to realize that I control how and what I learn. I understand the importance of metacognition and how it is the “deliberate conscious control of cognitive activity”(Brown, 1980).
Over the past weeks, I have learned several theories but the one that I am most effected by is constructivism. Part of my fascination with this theory is that it gives power to the student because a “basic assumption of constructivism is that people are active learners and must construct knowledge for themselves. To understand material well, learners must discover the basic principles for themselves (Ormrod, Schunk, Gredler, 2009). In my opinion, constructivism is the new method of teaching to the new technologically savvy student. Learning Theories and Instruction states that, “teachers should not teach in the traditional sense of delivering instruction to a group of students. Rather, they should structure situations such that learners become actively involved with content through manipulation of materials and social interaction.” I personally prefer to learn this way.
Technology is instrumental in my learning because it helps me to search for information by going to Google or online libraries. I have access to blogs and other postings online by both novice and experts. I use my laptop to type documents in Word. The newest technological adventure for me is mindmapping. I have only scratched the surface of where and how this will benefit me in my career and personal life. I’m excited about the theories I have learned, and I am even more excited about the POWER I have come to realize I possess to retain the information I have learned, retrieve the information I have learned and relax about it all.
Reference:
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate
custom edition). New York: Pearson.

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Constructivism Is the Way


Initially, when first being introduced to the learning theories, I felt overwhelmed. I have always been interested in how people learned but had no idea that there were actual theories to support the various ways. In the beginning, the information all ran together and I felt as though I were riding on a bumpy road without any direction. It was hard to distinguish one theory from the next. Eventually, the light came on and the bumpy road became much smoother. The first question in class was how do you learn, and I answered the best I could with my limited knowledge. Now, however, I have a better understanding of how I learn and the importance of the process. I am empowered as I have come to realize that I control how and what I learn. I understand the importance of metacognition and how it is the “deliberate conscious control of cognitive activity”(Brown, 1980).
Over the past weeks, I have learned several theories but the one that I am most effected by is constructivism. Part of my fascination with this theory is that it gives power to the student because a “basic assumption of constructivism is that people are active learners and must construct knowledge for themselves. To understand material well, learners must discover the basic principles for themselves (Ormrod, Schunk, Gredler, 2009). In my opinion, constructivism is the new method of teaching to the new technologically savvy student. Learning Theories and Instruction states that, “teachers should not teach in the traditional sense of delivering instruction to a group of students. Rather, they should structure situations such that learners become actively involved with content through manipulation of materials and social interaction.” I personally prefer to learn this way.
Technology is instrumental in my learning because it helps me to search for information by going to Google or online libraries. I have access to blogs and other postings online by both novice and experts. I use my laptop to type documents in Word. The newest technological adventure for me is mindmapping. I have only scratched the surface of where and how this will benefit me in my career and personal life. I’m excited about the theories I have learned, and I am even more excited about the POWER I have come to realize I possess to retain the information I have learned, retrieve the information I have learned and relax about it all.
Reference:
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate
custom edition). New York: Pearson.

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Connectivism


My network of technology has changed the way I learn because it gives me access to multiple resources at the touch of a button. There was a time when I had to go to the library to do research but through the use of online libraries I can read almost any book in the world within a matter of minutes. My virtual library card is the best digital tool I have to assist me in research. When I want new knowledge on a topic or subject I simply Google it or talk with a professor on the topic. Also, Walden’s library is a great source for articles and peer reviewed journals. Also, instructors and fellow students are a part of my network. Instructors offer a wealth of information that is beneficial to my network.
My personal learning network supports the central tenets of connectivism. Currently, I am working in a field that is very new to me. I teach and I am a student. I am bombarded with information daily and the information is so vast that I “no longer personally experience everything there is to experience” as I try to learn the new material I am exposed to. My method of retaining information is very similar to the chaos theory- “regardless of how unrelated events may seem, when studied together, they create a pattern that can show relevance beyond the individual events themselves” (Davis, Edmunds, and Bateman). Mind mapping is excellent for linking seemingly unrelated events. Although, my mind mapping may look like a web of disorder to some, it is a systematic way for me to see the connection between events that appear to have little to no connection. I enjoy connecting my ideas because once I have my map I am able to see the “connections between fields, ideas, and concepts” (Davis, Edmunds, and Bateman).
Reference:
Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved December 5, 2010, from http://projects. Coe.uga.edu/epltt/

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Information on Information Processing Theory


Buzzle.com is an informative website that offers a general overview of the information processing theory.  It is often helpful to read different points of view on the same topic to help get an in-depth understanding of sometimes difficult information.  The author gives a breakdown of the information processing modal, the information processing theory, and information processing and management.  This website is a valuable resource because it acts as an aide to retention of this valuable information.  Also, there is a link within this site that leads to information on the Cognitive Development Theory.  I found this site offers a wealth of information for those interested in the study of psychology.

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/information-processing-theory.html

This book is awesome! The author, Eric Jensen, takes teaching to a new level by giving the instructor the insight of Teaching with the Brain in Mind.  Many times instructors try different strategies that  pedagogical strategies that do not support the complexities of the brain.  Armed with knowledge of the brain,  a teacher or instructional design specialist can cut through  filler and maximize  time spent offering instruction.  I was so affected by the book that I ordered my own personal copy alone with Super Teacher: Over 1000 Practical Strategies.  This book, as an aide to working with the SME, is a valuable resource to those working in the field of Instructional Design.  Jensen’s first chapter is on the brain, and he masterfully introduces his readers to the “soft, squishy blob between” their ears.  Written in a very matter-of-fact way, the reader cannot help but walk away feeling empowered as an instructor.

Jensen, Eric.  Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Edition).

http://site.ebrary.com/lib/waldenu/Doc?id=10089220&ppg=20

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Instructional Design


The blog insightlopedia offers a wealth of information that makes the field of instructional design come alive with excitement. The author, Swapnil, offers insight into what an instructional designer is and the role of  instructional design  as a science, process, discipline, and reality. This blog is can be a useful resource to a newbie in the field of instructional design by helping to maintain focus on the specific role of a designer.  Many times on a job, an employer will demand responsibilities that can cause the employee to lose focus on what are the most important aspects of his or her job, this blog is beneficial to maintaining that focus. http://insightlopedia.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/what-is-instructional-design/

The Dick and Carey or The System Approach model is a systematic process for instructional design versus an isolated method.  This blog not only introduces the reader to the model, but it also give a listing of the ten step process with descriptions. The list is as followed: assess needs to identify instructional goal, conduct instructional analysis, analyze learners and contexts, write performance objectives, develop assessment instruments, develop instructional strategy, develop and select instruction, design and conduct formative evaluation, revise instruction, and design and conduct summative evaluation. http://insightlopedia.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/the-dick-and-carey-systems-approach-model-of-instructional-design/

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