Week 8 Assignment – Learning Reflection

In the final week of the course Learning Theories and Instruction, we were asked to reflect upon what we have learned and how we will apply this learning in the future in relationship to a career in instructional design. In this reflection I will share what I found surprising or striking as I furthered my knowledge about how people learn. I will also explain how this course deepened my understanding of my own personal learning process. I will attempt to explain all that I have learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, education technology and motivation. And with all this new information, I will share how I plan to utilize what I have learned in this course to help me as I further my career in field of instructional design.
The most surprising and striking information I learned in this course was the link between learning and social interaction. I have always been very independent in my learning and this concept completely changed the way I viewed course design. There are some very basic ideas involved in the Social Learning theory, including how learning occurs through observation of behaviors of others, how an environment reinforces modeling, and social interaction helps to support retention through memory coding. (Ormond, 2009) When I really considered the impact of social learning, I realized that there are many deep connections that someone can benefit from in a social environment to enhance learning. It is in our nature to be social and develop relationships. After reading the information provided regarding Social Learning Theory, I realized there are so many layers to this learning idea. Some of these layers include; the information being presented, who is presenting this information and how is the learner’s relationship to this person (that relationship could be a distraction to the information in being presented), the reaction given by other members of the learning environment to new and shared ideas can help imprint a certain idea into your memory and can even make you experience a happy or negative feeling when you retrieve the information from your memory, and if the intention of a learning environment and topic can sustain a positive personal interaction and develop a real human connection through learning the retention of knowledge will make a lasting impact.
Before taking this course I knew that I took a very independent and structured approach to learning. In reading the course resource I learned that I connect with may characteristic across a few of the learning styles presented. Some include the Cognitive Theory and how knowledge applied in different contexts can promote learning transfer, the case based theories involved in Constructivist Theory, and especially the network structures and nodes explained with the Connectivism theory. (Ormond, 2009) But the one thing I learned in this course that helped deepen my understanding of my personal learning process was that when I developed an intention to use my assignments and discussion questions as an opportunity to share my feelings and relationship to the course content in an effort to connect and share with other class members, I obtained a deeper understand of the material and completed each assignment and interaction with a positive emotion that I can use to retain much more content.
I have learned that the connection between learning theories, learning styles, education technology and motivation key factors are influenced and utilized based on how they effect and enhance the learning experience. Learning theories and learning styles were studied and developed in order to develop quality learning environment to maximize retention and learning experience. In my opinion technology has not only enhanced learning, but revolutionized learning environments through providing an infinite amount of learning networks and online learning environments that can be accessed with a click of a mouse. (Colan, 2003) Bringing all these ideas together to not only enhance a learning environment, but also to personalize learning in a way that makes a person feel connected to the information and to the people helping to present the information, and providing an environment where personal success can be achieved will provide the best opportunity for motivation in learners. (Keller, 1999)
It is my goal that I can take all the information in this course and create the highest quality instructional design material for every type of learning. By learning multiple learning styles and theories, I can change the focus from how I learn best and incorporate multiple learning styles in instruction to impact many different types of learners. I have learned to recognize the importance of technology and learning connections and plan to stay on top of new technologies that can provide the best quality of instruction. I also have learned that course design is an ongoing task that will require review and close monitoring of learners reactions to material and overall motivation by course content, and how to maximize motivation among learners impacted by course design.
One common thread through all the course material was intention and personal experience when learning. It is so important to ensure the right intention and to create a positive learning experience, regardless of what learning style and theory is presented. Any positive learning experience and quality information presented has the potential to change someone’s life. It is the responsibility as instructional design to ensure the change and transfer of information is positive with the best intention possible.

References
Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning
Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning
Ormrod, D. J. (Director) (2012, July 8). “Theory of Social Cognitive Development”. Lecture
conducted from Walden University, Minneapolis
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson

Week 7 Assignment – Fitting the Pieces Together

This week’s assignment asked students to reflect on our Week 1 Discussion topic, which asked how we learn best based on the overview of the learning theories. Then we are asked to consider how our views have changed now that we have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles. What we have learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past few weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences. We were also asked to explain what role technology plays in our learning.

During Week 1, I explained that I learn most productively when I am able to mentally or physically simulate the topic I am researching. For example, I use and manage software on a daily basis in my current position. In order to gain a complete understanding of new software or software issues, I have to be able to interact with the computer and perform all features or issues being reported. In Week 1 I used Cognitive Theory to best describe how I learn. This theory focuses on the conceptualization of learning and how information is received by the student and stored. It is a very structured approach to learning, which I feel will help me be successful as an instructional designer.

When I think about how my views have changed now that I have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles I do not think my initial evaluation of my learning style has changed, however, I do feel like my learning style is more diverse and expands across many different learning theories and styles. In addition to Cognitive Theory, I would also have to include ideas from Constructivist Theory, Social Learning Theory, and Connectivism. Constructivist Theory involves case based learning that incorporates a meaningful experience. Social Learning Theory states that social interaction, in particular watching and learning from the words and behavior of others aids in learning. Connectivism views learning in terms of a network and is influenced by the diversity of our network and context of occurrences. (Ormond, 2009) But as described in our course material, it would be hard to categorize adult learners into one category of learning preference. Adult learners are influenced by life context, cultural experiences, and social dynamics that help to shape all learning experiences. I think this idea can be describe my learning preferences, in that it is variable based on topic and content.

And finally, what role does technology play in my learning. I would have to report that technology touches every aspect of my learning. The formal learning environment of Walden University starts with an online classroom. I can communicate with students via discussion links and email. All research is done through an online digital library, in addition to internet research outside of the university. All lectures are viewed via online link to a video presentation. All material is consistent and digitally provided to ensure I can gain the most knowledge possible in a condensed time frame. Without technology I would not be able to further my degree.

References
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson. Chapter 1, “Overview” (pp. 1–16)
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.
Emerging theories and online learning environments for adults. (2002). In Theories of Educational Technology. Retrieved November 24l, 2010, from https://sites.google.com/a/boisestate.edu/edtechtheories/