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/

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